Aloha from the Garden Island. I’m writing from my tiny studio looking at lush green fields, listening to beautiful birds singing all around and the sound of breaking waves in the ocean that’s 200m away from my door; all the while laughing at the royal-looking rooster that’s bullying every chicken that comes his way.
I laugh at myself when I tell people where I live and what I do. It sounds surreal, it looks surreal but I’m here and I’m living it.
How did I get here?
The past 14 months have been absolutely insane. I’ve been on this accelerated life ride, a ride full of synchronicities, serendipities, coincidences, and unreal situations.
Fourteen months ago I was still living in Barcelona; I had finished my Masters in Nutrition and was pushing to start my own practice. But something was off! I had a mental block every time I sat down to build my website and come up with strategies for new exciting wellness ideas in Barcelona that would allow me to make the most of that exuberant city, day after day, as I had been doing. I talked about my mental block with a couple of friends there and two things were said to me that had just clicked and opened up different doors in my head:
As much as I didn’t like what I was hearing as I was so blindly in love with Barcelona, my body reacted physically to my friends’ words. There was some resistance to them but the kind of resistance you know is coming from a place that you’re trying to avoid looking into.
I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of leaving Barcelona just yet.
A month later I arrived at an intersection: I had to decide within a couple of days if I wanted stay in Spain and work on my work visa, or pack my bags and go on my adventure in India (one I had been patiently waiting for and and planning for at least 6 months prior), and then make a move to the United States.
I remember calling my parents to discuss my decision, but the minute they picked up the phone, I knew the decision had already been made.
I don’t know how this decision just popped up in my head, but all I know is that the minute I said those words my body reacted physically to them. It was the knot in my gut, my heart opening and expanding, visions of incredible adventures and exciting plans flowing in my head that tears started streaming down my face.
That is how it should feel when one is aligned with one’s true path, and my body physically and emotionally confirmed it.
By the time I finished my travels in India and Nepal, I had other plans for my move to California. I no longer wanted to be in a stressful city environment. I just wanted to be near the beach, to learn how to surf, teach yoga, and pursue my studies in Ayurvedic medicine. At the time, a Southern California relaxed lifestyle seemed a lot more my tempo after my East Asia trips.
However, the universe had different plans in the making for me. A series of “coincidental” events (and I put coincidental events in quotation marks because nothing is ever a coincidence) put things in alignment again. From multiple road trips along the coast of California, to camping at a festival up in Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe where I met a girl who’s now a special friend of mine, then passing through San Francisco on the way back to Southern California that had me move there the week after. San Francisco was love at first sight. It was the closest thing to Europe I could get in California. The smells, the coloured buildings, the parks, the food, the ocean, the culture, the people… I started investing in the city, in the people I was meeting, in the work that I was doing, but little did I know that it was just a 5-month stop-over.
I had never intended to visit Hawaii, at least not any time soon. Hawaii wasn’t on my radar, and I had a long list of places to go to before I would have considered it. But of course Hawaii casually made its appearance in my life pretty often. Wherever I went in San Francisco, I met people who had moved from there, or were making plans to move there, and I began to get intrigued by this tropical island. Then one day, my friend whom I had met at the festival in Squaw Valley back in July 2015, sent me this text:
My immediate response was “No!”
How could I start traveling when I had just started building all these ties and connections in the city? I was just settling in and things were moving fast. And I couldn’t afford flying across the Pacific to just relax on a beach in Hawaii.
But there was this strange sudden energy pull when I told her I couldn’t come visit her. I immediately looked up Ashtanga Mysore in Hawaii, and Ayurveda. Both results came up to be on the same island that I had never heard of before. Without any exaggeration whatsoever, it took me 5 minutes to make a decision and text my friend back.
Ah that same physical sensation that I got when I made a decision to leave Barcelona and move to the US… the goosebumps, the open heart, the clear mind, the sudden tears. Yes, it was all there and it was just another confirmation that I was being called to where I am right now.
I had been running around for 11 months. From Barcelona to India, Nepal, Jordan, South California, and San Francisco, constantly studying or working or running after something… and I was exhausted. My body had asked me to slow down and stop countless times. Starting with problems in my digestion (the source of all disease in the ancient wisdom of Ayurvedic medicine), to manifesting a shoulder injury that put my asana yoga practice on hold for weeks at a time, to getting a serious case of constant vertigo for days. I was doing the best I could to nurture and take care of myself through all the moving and transitioning, but it wasn’t enough. These were all loud and clear signs my body was giving me to tell me that I was out of alignment with myself, and my path. Something was off.
I chose to listen to my body. Those negative feelings were there for a reason. To show me that my physical and spiritual needs were not being met.
By moving to a small island where both of my passions, Ayurveda and Ashtanga, were present, I was giving myself a chance to heal, to process my year of travels, to be near the ocean and eat off the trees, to be close to nature, break out of the city rat race and live what I preach the best way I can.
Here I am on one of the outer islands of Hawaii, still studying, working, practicing Ashtanga (injury free), and getting trained to become a certified Ayurvedic Chef, doing some organic farming, surfing, hiking, and most of all, being blessed with the spirit of Aloha every single day.
Rana Haddadin is a health/wellness coach and a yoga instructor with an unwavering passion to help others achieve a dynamic state of wellbeing through a “mind, body, and spirit” approach. After a few years of touring the world to get to know herself better, Rana now lives in Kauai, Hawaii from where she lives out her passion to help others near and far achieve a dynamic sense of wellbeing.
All images in this post, unless otherwise indicated, have been provided courtesy of Rana Haddadin.