My life feels rather surreal right now, and it’s been an emotion-full couple of weeks as I prepare my heart, business, and life to move off of Maui. It’s an odd feeling to be stepping away from a dream, yet to be unsure of what I’m walking towards.

Of course, there are aspects that I’m wildly excited about – the impending births of two new velvet-skinned, summer-scented nieces to love on, seeing my two ridiculously cute nephews who have transformed, since the last time I saw them, from cherub-faced babies to active miniature men who talk up a storm, have burgeoning senses of humor, and run in circles (although they’re still cherub-faced,) being close to family, seeing old friends, endless hours of sister time, making new friends, being in the same time zone as the people I’m closest to, capturing the brilliant magic of autumn in the Smoky Mountains, etc.

But still, the impending reality of boarding a plane in 9 days and watching this island fade away in the distance is wreaking havoc on my heart. While I don’t doubt the decision, my stubborn heart likes to remind me that 411 days ago, I stood in the middle of the rugged grandeur of I’ao in a rainstorm and made a commitment to this island, and it (my heart) is not keen on the idea of taking this relationship long-distance.

So that brings me to the theme of this post. How do we let go of things that our hearts have no desire or intention to break away from?

Hawaii is enveloped with an incredibly healing and nurturing energy – perhaps because Maui is the heart chakra of the world (probably why it’s the literal Island of Misfits) – and during my time here, I’ve been able to let go of a lot of things that my heart had been clinging to for…a long time. There are definitely things that my heart is still stubbornly clinging to, but here are a few tips I’ve learned on the subject along this journey.

  1. Celebrate.

I’m a firm believer in celebrating everything – even sad things. And few things are absolutely, 100% sad… there’s almost always a bright side to be found, even if it’s only slightly bright, and even if it takes us several years to discover it. Endings always mean new beginnings, and those are exciting – even if we don’t know what those new beginnings are. Celebrate the old, celebrate the new, celebrate the unknown, and celebrate the reality, existence, and experience of whatever you’re letting go of in your life. It might not be here in another week, but it’s in my life today, and I’m gonna celebrate the f***out of that. I’m officially on staycation, so right now my “celebrating” looks like spending every day snorkeling with massive, wisdom-imparting honu (sea turtles,) hiking miles upon miles of this beautiful island, hitting the “renew” button on my 36 “for sale” listings on craigslist, creating final memories with friends, and basking in the glow of each sunset. It is, literally, da best.

  1. Feel

Don’t be afraid of all ‘the feels’ involved in letting go. Hurt, excitement, second-guessing, joy, fear, disappointment, resentment, heartbreak…embrace the experience of where you are and what you’re feeling in each moment, and then move on.

  1. Practice Gratefulness.

To practice gratefulness when letting go of something we might rather hold on to, we have to sift through all the layers to find the positives. For me, that means focusing on how incredibly blessed by the universe I’ve been to even have been able to live in Hawaii at all, rather than focusing on the fact that I’m leaving, and on the fact that I have the freedom to pack up and move to anywhere in the world rather than feeling “stuck.” Sometimes getting to the point where you can see the positives takes a long time, particularly when people are involved, so be patient and kind to yourself and allow time for things to clear enough for those positives to shine through.

  1. Rituals and Acts of Farewell.

With each of the things I’ve let go of in Hawaii (and at every point in my life,) there’s been some sort of act or ritual to mark them. Some have involved lighting things on fire, others hurling things over the sides of a cliff, still other blowing bubbles into the atmosphere or sweating it out on my yoga mat… and some have been marked with just the softest, gentlest breath of a whisper caught up on the wings of the tradewinds. Having something to “mark” it or bring closure, whether it’s by having a final, heart-to-heart conversation, planting a tree, or releasing a bouquet of balloons into the sky, is important. For my current situation, the simple act of packing up and moving 4000 miles is a pretty significant marker. And in a few days, my parents are flying out to my little rock in the middle of the Pacific to visit, and to have the opportunity to share my magical life here with someone from “over there” is huge in bringing a sense of closure to this season (so thanks, mum and dad 😉 I can’t wait to share my island with you!)

  1. Make Room in Our Hearts for the New

Sometimes it’s easier to continue living in the past rather than stepping fully into the present, because the past is comfortable and familiar and the new can be terrifying. But whether we’re letting go of a person, a relationship, a job, a season of life, or a sparkly, warm, colorful  island that hugs us with rainbows every single day and paints streaks of sunshine in our hair, we need to create space in our hearts for whatever new-ness is coming our way. But this can only happen after the other steps have been taken… so start celebrating 😉

And with that, I’m going back across the street to continue celebrating with the turtles… see you in 9 days, mainland. Please try to keep your “cold” temps to a 70-degree minimum.