Learning to say no.


When I first started telling people “No,” I felt quite guilty. I felt that I was letting them down and it didn’t make me feel like I was being a good person. I used to say yes to everyone and had every minute of each day of the week filled with social obligations, volunteer jobs, helping a friend, my photography business, and almost anything else that was asked of me—especially as SuperMOM (cape and all!). No wonder my immune system was compromised! I never stopped. I never rested to let my body heal….especially with an immune disorder I didn’t realize I had at the time.

“Listen to your body when it whispers, so you don’t have to hear it when it screams.”

I ignored all the whispering for years. It finally took getting really sick with the room spinning vertigo to lay me flat on my back. I had no choice but to stop…and, literally, let the world spin by. The most amazing part was that the world went on...brides found new photographers! Other people stepped up to volunteer! People were able to function without me helping them! My true friends still stayed my friends even though I didn’t have the energy to see them. And the acquaintances/“friends” who were upset by my “no,” moved on and found other people who were more in alignment with themselves. Had I continued to be their friend out of obligation, they would not have had that opportunity. 

You are not doing anyone any favors by continuing relationships out of obligation. When you are doing things out of affinity with who you are, you are compromising yourself. To be in a state of optimum healing, it is important to be in alignment with your deepest desires and wishes.

I know there are some family members or coworkers who are difficult to be around and you just can’t axe them from your lives. However, we can learn some tools that will help you when you do have to deal with them…the first step is to limit your time around them.

Sensing energy from others...

Seven years ago, when a virus left me with room spinning vertigo for four months and a deep fatigue for another eight, I spent most of my time on the couch in our living room. As my friends and acquaintances were worried about me, I had many visitors at the beginning to come by and check on me. After a few weeks of entertaining my concerned pals, I realized that I was feeling more zapped and drained after most of the visits.  As I had little energy to begin with, I became super sensitive to other people’s energy. I knew I could not continue spending time with most of my well-intentioned guests. I needed all my strength and energy to heal and attempt to care for my 8-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son.

When a visitor arrived, I began to sense immediately whether or not my energy was starting to drain or if I felt supported and held in a way that was nourishing and helpful. Out of pure necessity, I learned to say a polite “no” to those who drained me. It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate their good intentions, I just had absolutely no energy to pretend otherwise. One very difficult day when I truly felt like the life was draining out of me, my good friend Karen came over and asked what she could do. I just needed to be held which she did without speaking. After a couple of hours, I felt nourished and calm. I knew I could continue on.

As I continued to heal, I continued to only say Yes to those people who didn’t deplete me. Even though I have more energy now, I am still very careful with how I choose to exert it. I am grateful for that time of not feeling well, as it gave me the opportunity to learn a valuable skill.This is a skill I still carry with me today. 

I choose to spend time only with people who I feel good around. I am much happier and more content than I have ever been. Our time and energy are so valuable. 

Take a moment to reflect on those who you feel well around. Notice your energy when you are around them. Know that you are in a state of optimal healing when you are feeling well. Notice your energy when you are around difficult individuals. 

We will spend the next couple of classes talking about protecting our energy bodies and developing the skills to help do so.

I look forward to seeing you….BTW: I feel amazing when I am at meditation class with all of you!!

Notice when you are happy!

Before my kids headed out the door to their different schools, Malia said to Ryder, “Have a great day, Ryder. Good luck with your new dance class.”

Ryder lovingly responded, “Thank you, Malia. You have a great day, too. I hope you do well on your test.” 

He then went over and gave her a quick hug.

It was right out of a Brady Bunch rerun. That perfect family moment that seems to only happen during 1970’s corny tv shows. Regardless, I took it all in. I savored that moment…cementing it to my ever diminishing memory banks. I’m still swimming in the deliciousness of that moment.

Why does it seem that we often focus on the negative moments? Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist who wrote Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence, explains that our brains are like velcro for negative experiences and teflon for positive experiences. Positive and negative emotions use different memory systems in the brain. He said positive emotions don’t transfer as easily to the long term memory the way bad emotions do.

So, one of the ways we can change that, is to really notice and take in those beautiful moments. Absorb it into every part of your being. Feel that positive energy running through your body.

Kurt Vonnegut sums it up quite eloquently by stating, “And I urge to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is."

Attitude of gratitude!

Start your day with an attitude of gratitude! It makes the move into Monday a bit brighter. It’s amazing how quickly we can change how we are feeling when we shift our attention to something positive. Having a sense of humor can also lift your mood.

Three things that Carla is grateful for on this Monday morning:

1. Grateful that my 15 year old daughter and I are still speaking after our afternoon driving session yesterday. Still a bit bewildering to me as how suggesting to her that she doesn’t need her turn signal on half a mile from the turn is “picking a fight with her.”

2. Grateful that my cat affectionately brushes my leg in the morning, especially when my son recoils as if I have the plague when I try to hug him upon waking.

3. Grateful to have gas in my car as I prepare to drive to Wailuku 3x today and Olinda once for my UberMom daily program.

I feel happier just putting this down on paper!! Grateful for all of you for being on this healing journey together! 

Let me know what you are grateful for!



Listening to my body....

When I woke up on Sunday, I was feeling the deep fatigue in my body that I have been experiencing the last month. As I didn’t have to get the kids to school, I was able to take a moment and check in.

My first reaction was fear. I felt scared…wondering how long I am going to feel sick this time…a year? 4 months? I could feel my body tensing and panic in my throat. Then I caught myself. I acknowledged to myself that I was feeling fear. In that moment of acknowledging, I was able to let go.

In allowing the experience to be what it is (I am tense/anxious/angry/worried), something changes in the body. We soften. Whatever is happening in the moment, is okay. This gives us a spaciousness, peace, and ease…regardless of the weather. The peace I felt come over my body, allowed me to relax and put myself into an optimum healing state.

Rather than fight the fatigue, I have accepted it (for the day, anyway!), and do what my body allows for. I have chosen to accomplish only the basics and gave myself permission to say no to anything that I did not have to do. I’ve asked for my husband and kids to step up and help more around the house. I have accepted help from my friends. I am healing and I am present in my body.

The calm at the bottom....

Last week my husband and I went out to Hana, as he had an appointment (he’s a realtor) and I was going to get some rest without kids. Fortunately or unfortunately, his appointment was cancelled, yet he still wanted to take the time to go out there, as we had farmed the kids out for 30 hours. 

Even though the weather was a bit stormy, we still went to Hamoa Beach, our favorite beach on Maui. Only a few people were in the water, as it was rough and choppy. Billy still put on his goggles and swam out to get some exercise. I was watching his with a mild concern as the sea looked scary and he was pretty far out. Thirty minutes later and safely on shore, he convinced me to put my mask on and come join him. 

Slightly fearful of the treacherous looking sea, I hopped out through the waves and followed my hubby through the crashing surf. I couldn’t believe how crystal clear the water was, particularly with how rough it was. The visibility was like a swimming pool. As we swam out and as the depth increased, the calmer the bottom appeared. We dove down ten and twenty feet to get a closer look at the brightly colored fish and coral caves. The peacefulness and calm was continually surprising to me. When I would pop back up and see the waves and stormy skies, I would marvel at how serene it was below. I continually dove back down to experience the tranquility with Nemo and Dory and the schools of fish.

Back on shore, I realized that I felt that same stillness I experienced at the bottom of the ocean during my meditations. When we can go inside into our intuitive center/meditation sanctuary, we can experience that same peace. Sometimes it is harder to stay there, with our busy monkey mind, but it is always there for us regardless of what the weather is. 

When the weather and our lives are feeling chaotic and overwhelming, a retreat into our intuitive center is exactly what we need to put our mind/body into a relaxation state. The optimum state for healing. It is always available to us, even when we are not meditating (i.e. stuck in traffic or dealing with an angry client or coworker).

Step back into your intuitive center, ground, and breathe. This shift can make a profound difference in the moment and in your life. 

Listening to your body

I am so sorry but I need to cancel class tonight, as I am not feeling great. Nothing serious, but just a creeping fatigue that is my red flag to let me know that I am overdoing it and need to rest.

Listen to your body when it whispers, so you don't have to hear it when it screams.

Soooo, I am going to practice “Letting Go” and not feel the need to do everything. Learning to listen to my body was a difficult one for me, as I used to always push though fatigue and try to do it all. Between being supermom, PTA Volunteer of the year (or tried to be), running a photography business, and never saying no, my body no longer sent me red flags—it completely shut down seven years ago. After ignoring the red flags, I had no choice but to take a back seat to four months of room spinning vertigo and another eighth months of debilitating fatigue. As a result, I have learned to listen these signals and take care of myself.

SO! That being said, please notice when you are getting red flags for your own body….make sure to listen and give yourself permission to rest and rejuvenate. 

I will look forward to seeing you all next Monday!

A restart

When we are able to forgive, we release the resentment/anger/hurt/frustration that our body is holding onto. This frees up energy to focus on healing the body and to help put it in a state of homeostasis. 

When my son was seven, he came to me after a melt down and apologized. In his infinite innocent wisdom he asked, “Can we have a Re-Start, Mom?” In that moment, it was so easy to let go of any negativity I may have been feeling. My "Dennis the Menace" has asked for a lot of Re-Starts over the years, and I found that it is the quickest way to change the energy to positive. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for a Re-Start when needed. Your body needs it and deserves it.

Forgiving ourselves

Looking forward to seeing you all tonight where we continue to let go and forgive…and to forgive the most important person: OURSELVES!!

Yesterday after meditating, walking the beach with my daughter, and watching the birds in the bird feeder, I was feeling grounded and blissed out. That was until my 14 year old son came into the kitchen. BTW: two months ago, on the eve of his 14th birthday, an alien from the Planet Smugness & Insolence invaded his body and has not left.

He informed me that I needed to remember to put the Britta water filter pitcher away instead of leaving it in the sink (where I was filling it to the top!)—mind you he will put the pitcher back empty in the fridge on a daily basis. All my grounded bliss and Dali Mama quotes on kindness went out the window and I lost my shit. I reacted. I yelled. Ooops. He yelled an apology and crawled back to his cave. 

After a few deep breaths and regaining  control of my own body, I went to him to apologize. He responded with a hug and said he was kinda being a jerk with how he said it. Whew. I am not perfect. He is my teacher. I know one day the alien will return to its own planet and I will have my sweet son back full time.

Strive to be happy…not perfect.




I know sometimes it is hard to let go of anger, as we may feel justified in our reasons for hanging onto it.

Five years ago, I scratched my cornea and my eye became infected. I had called my eye doctor twice to tell him I was having difficulty seeing. He dismissed my concerns. As I had an undiagnosed genetic immune disorder, no one could have predicted how quickly and how much damage was created by the infection. By the time he took my concerns seriously and the proper diagnosis was reached, I had so much scarring from the damage from the infection that I lost most of the site in that eye. Needless to say, I was devastated. 

I was so angry with my doctor and then myself. I was also having a reaction to the viral medication that left me sick and slightly nuts. It took me awhile to let go of my anger towards him. 

I was reminded of a paraphrase from Buddha, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

By letting go of the anger, I was able to start healing. Forgiving someone is for YOU….it doesn’t mean they are being “let off the hook” or that their behavior was okay. Forgiveness is a gift for yourself. 

If you are holding onto anger, then you are wasting energy that your body needs for healing. The most important state for your body is the relaxation state. This is your optimum healing state.

The good news is that after six months of focused healing , I had a near miraculous recovery. My new eye doctors had never seen someone return to almost original site from so much damage. 

Who do you need to forgive? What do you need to let go of?