Permission to thrive

rustic directional sign in Hana, Maui, Hawaii

When I first arrived in Maui, the two big aloe vera plants beside my outdoor lanai had seen better days. I’ve frequented this condo many times over the years and honestly, their current state shocked me. 

They were both orange and dry. I honestly thought they were on their way out. 

So I decided to do a test. I started to water one of them to see if it revived or if they were indeed toast.

aloe vera plants dried up

Within 2 weeks, the watered plant (on the left) had morphed back to a partially vibrant green, promising to improve with even more tender loving care. I was thrilled it could be saved!

I promptly messaged the owner, alerting her that they had nearly been dead when I arrived, and was this perhaps something they just did this time of year?

Apparently they use to get more water. The in-ground sprinkling system use to hit them each evening. So now that it apparently doesn’t, they will require occasional watering to keep them healthy. And thank goodness, some condo renters recognize the need and go ahead and water. I think that may be due to the condo owner renting this place out to those they know. 

I was thrilled to learn that I was part of the pack that cared enough to take notice and just try. And that these lovely plants that have saved me pain from countless sunburns over the years could be revived!

So I promptly started caring for the other plant as well by clipping out the dead parts, and watering them each day.

well watered aloe vera plants in Maui, Hawaii

The good news is, BOTH plants are now vibrant green, and looking like I remember them looking!

However, if they don’t receive some attention along the way, they will indeed fade once again.

It’s all in the hands of future vacationers at this point.

I resonate this story to where I currently was and am in life.

I came to Hawaii completely broken.

My cup was so empty, it was as if there was a crack in the bottom that wouldn’t allow it to fill again. I had lost inspiration in everything I was doing, and didn’t even have the drive to walk into a therapist’s office to talk about it any longer. I cancelled my last appointment. I was just done. I needed to leave all things home and go somewhere that would stop the incessant mental merry-go-round so I could ease into a better place at my own pace. Fresh new surroundings do that for me.

(one day I hope to share the reason for the decline, however today’s post is about something else)

I had even lost the ability to make simple decisions. I allowed the condo availability to guide me on how long to stay.

Avail for 5 weeks? Ok. Done.

It was a long stretch I did second guess (of course).

However, being that long stretches aren’t new to me (my son and I have run here before to ‘get away’ from it all) I did not fear the length on my behalf. Because of the emotional place I was in, I KNEW I’d need time to first rest, then restlessness (for brave, new adventures) then a time to heal at the end of it.

I also knew I wanted my solo-somewhere to be right where I was because I had come to know this location and this condo like a second home. I knew I would be safe and I could be alone OR immersed in convo with others around me as desired. (vacationers have lots of time to chat!)

I feel new adventures take you to new places and divert your attention elsewhere that help short term, but they don’t necessarily allow healing time… you gotta get real quiet for that part.

I’ll write more about about how/why I travel/vacation, then you can see if it’s right for you.

Anyway, I recognized my downfall, and with a little encouragement along the way, I made the move to do something about it.

And it is working. This Hawaiian thing is WORKING!

Recognize what you need

Plan it


I realize I’ve delivered this message in the past. But when you’re in the middle of it and it’s actually working, you feel this intense desire to share that in hopes that it strikes out to the right person in equal need.

I am the kind of person that tends to require a lot of pushing. It’s hard for me to give myself permission to do nice things for myself. I am just a giver. But I also know what happens when you stop treating yourself right.

Only you know your limits. If you find yourself hitting the same wall time after time, just wanting to feel good again, I’d say that’s a very good sign it’s time to make a bold move of your own.

While I don’t expect to arrive home with ALL the answers, the fog is clearing to the point where I can see where my unhealthy choices (saving mentality) were a big part of my decline. And pulling out same ‘ol motions along the way.

Ever notice what happens when you get stuck in ruts of doing the ‘same ‘ol?’ You end up doing what you think you have to / what others expect of you. Then you have to work at it even harder and end up chasing your own tail. Leaving you no time to do what you really want to do.

Or… you can seek out what passionately drives you, so you can’t wait to bounce out of bed each AM, wondering where in the world the day went…

Want that?

I think it’s safe, we ALL want that.

rustic directional sign in Hana, Maui, Hawaii

Listen to your own soul.

What is it asking for?

But more importantly, why are you denying the request?

If you’re anything like me, you are so SICK of hearing your own denials of what you need, you are ready to pull off something completely daring just to prove to yourself you CAN do it!

Are you there yet?

thriving aloe vera plant at a condo in Maui, Hawaii

Go water your plants.

It’s time to thrive, friend.


So, what are you going to do?

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Categories: Inspiration, Junk Drawer, Personal, Travel
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19 thoughts on “Permission to thrive

    • Sorry to hear you’re having a tough time Debbie. I only hope sharing some of my own newfound bravery helps to encourage you towards a better path of self-care. I’ll be writing more!

  1. Wow, I am so happy for you. I am exactly where you were when you started and just trying to take care of me right now is exhausting and the feeling guilty because I am not living up to others expectations of me leaves me wanting to just hide in my cave (home) I wish I had the resources to get away but that is impossible at the moment so I may have to settle for therapy and hope I get someone who can actually help. I am trying to ignore all those comments I feel are negative and taking one day at a time. So I love reading your post as it helps to know that there are others dealing with stress overload too. I find something each day to be grateful for and that is helping too Thank you for sharing your journey

    • I’m sorry to hear you’re going through hardship, Lori. I too tend to bury myself in my home and vision myself under the covers a LOT. Too much.

      Knowing you want more is a very good step. I truly recommend therapy as they will help you see how much you are holding that really isn’t yours to even hold.

      I also highly suggest to pick up the book Boundaries. It is an amazing read that really basically confirmed everything the therapist already told me. It’s a home therapist! 🙂

      Here’s the book link on Amazon (affiliate link)…

  2. I am having a really tough time right now due to health issues. I have made some really hard decisions and I am second guessing myself. Unfortunately I am facing another 40 treatments so it is impossible to get away right now. I loved reading what you wrote and hopefully these treatments will be successful and we will be able to plan a get away in September. I hope you will feel better soon.

    • Oh Patty, I’m so sorry to hear of your trials.

      Getting away isn’t the most important part of self-care however it does help to remove yourself from familiar surroundings for a spell if/when you can. A walk nearby can do the same thing, much like my daily trail bike rides do for me.

      I’ll definitely write a post on how I do my style of vacations but how I self-care while home too. I don’t know if you recall my story on getting a mysterious illness that brought me home for a number of years where I couldn’t do much. That spell turned into the blog Funky Junk Interiors by the way… who knew that something so difficult could spin into something so beautiful?

      Here is that story:

      Just remember… you are writing your own beautiful story… you just don’t know where this one will take you quite yet… I wish you much health and strength ahead.

  3. Hi Donna,
    Sounds like things are going better for you and happy to hear that. Enjoy the rest of your vacation and thank you for the party.

  4. “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in where it grows, not the flower.” -Alexander Den Heijer

    So happy you found a place to refill your cup! Love ya!

    – M

    • Goodness. SO well said M!

      And plant that flower in a tropical environment and they become flowers on steroids… or so it seems! 😀

      Thanks for being one of my mentors during all this!

  5. Are you considering moving to Hawaii? Did you not write something about Canadians being able to live out of country 6 months a year?
    Something to think about….Summer in Canada, Winter in Hawaii.

      • Talk to the locals. There are ways….Wealthy Part Time people need responsible house -sitters. Some of them come with your own cottage. And you already have local refs. from your Condo Owners.
        Other things too.
        Won’t hurt to check around…

  6. Oh, Donna, what a beautiful post. I believe that without risk there is no story, and without story there is no purpose and without purpose we cannot thrive. You were wise, my friend, to put self-care at the top of the list in this season. And like that aloe plant, even a few drops of water (hope, vision, encouragement, etc.) over an extended period of time can bring things back to life. Thanks for sharing. xoxoxo

  7. Hi Donna,
    It has been awhile since I commented and shared. I too have been making some changes and working through fear. While it is not comfortable, it is rewarding.
    I decided to retire, so last June I did it! It has been so wonderful to care for myself 80% of time and not my usual 20%.
    I have since purchased a truck and have just purchased a camping trailer. You have been very encouraging towards this, but I just took me awhile to do it. The adventures will begin,,, being out in nature feels very healing and freeing. Once I learn to tow, my plan is to travel the west in the Spring and Fall. I live in the San Jose, Ca area and while the weather is beautiful the pace and quality of life is getting so bad it feels terrible to me.
    Just wanted update you Donna,,, seems we are on the same path… time!!

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