what are your transformational places? Hot Conversation

Makaha Resort

Transformation is on my mind this week. I was thinking about the places that have supported me in a big aha moment, overcoming a deep-set fear, letting go of something or someone, taking a critical next step. This little thought process started today while I was driving to pick up my husband because he had to take his truck for repairs. Alone on the road, I started thinking about what it would be like to live in my car. What starts to play on my satellite radio but The Beach Boys’ In My Room. Pure serendipity.

My room was transformational when I was a teenager. My car became one of my best transformational places when I got my first VW beetle in 1969. Since then, I have had all kinds of conversations with myself and God in my car. I’ve practiced speeches, screamed in despair, laughed and cried while alone on the road over the years. My car is not my favorite transformational place, though.

My favorite transformational place is Hawaii. The Hawaiian Islands envelope me in the luscious, fragrant, crazy beauty of life. Walking along Poipu Beach on Kauai, or on a path in the Koolau Mountains of Oahu, even around my old neighborhood of Manoa Valley was – and still is – always a rich and thoughtful experience. One of the most magical places I’ve ever been is a Makaha resort at the base of Oahu’s Waianae Mountains. My first visit there was to attend a four-day experiential workshop. It was so transformational that I bolted and drove home to Honolulu before it ended. But in the month that followed, I kept thinking about what I had learned, what I had resisted about my learning and how I might change if I returned sometime. Naturally, I did return and that workshop became an important part of my life and being, completely transforming me and giving me the profound gift of lifelong friends and mentors. I went back to Makaha many times while I lived in Honolulu. Thinking about it now, I feel a divine sense of peace. And I’m craving a hot fudge sundae, which my “synergy sister,” Ann, and I would always have for breakfast at Makaha.

Another special spot for me to grow was the little beach at the end of my street when I lived on an island in Newport Harbor. It was a real escape hatch where I could go and sit and think and sometimes drink a margarita. I would take my journal there and write for awhile before returning to my duties as a family caregiver. Listening to quacking ducks and dozens of halyards clanking against metal sailboat masts, taking in the smell of the saltwater and coconut sunscreen, watching pelicans dive for food, all served to transform a stressful day and bring me back to a simple place of gratitude and joy. I think I’ll go back to that beach one afternoon next week because I know I have some transforming to do!

Do you have any special transformational places? Your bathtub? An outdoor symphony concert? Your art studio?  Please let us know.

 

 

Posted in home & garden, other topics, spirituality.

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17 Responses

  1. Generic Image Margaret McIntyre says

    Nice to reflect with you, Shannon.  Of course, the beaches of Hawaii and the crater are two places I found transformational.  Another is sunrise at Macchu Picchu or when I was alone with the wind in the Mayan ruins in Mexico.  And of course, Patagonia.  Whenever I am in a special place like these, I like to do my photography to capture those sacred moments.  But I’m wondering too, if it can be any place if we are open to it.  I remember seeing the green flash at sunset over the Pacific Ocean and that was amazing.  Starry nights in Colorado in the mountains are pretty awesome too.  I am remembering fondly the times we shared in moments like these.  Hope we can connect in person soon for more transformations!

    2 like

    • Shannon Ingram Shannon Ingram says

      Wow…Macchu Picchu! Definitely magical, Margaret! I’ve not been there, but I have many friends who have and they say the same thing. Thanks for your great comment!

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  2. joyful53 joyful53 says

    I’m there right now – not too far from that island in Newport Harbor (Balboa or Lido?)  I’m at the condo my family has owned for the last 31 years (since I was pg with my oldest).  I’m looking at at a three masted schooner sailing south, the San Clemente pier – flags flapping on the life guard tower, pelicans flying in formation past my window heading out to the sea to dive bomb the fish.   If I look long enough there’s a good chance I’ll see a dolphin or two.

    I see ghosts here.  Ghosts of my children as infants, toddlers, teens. Ghosts of my father sitting at this table drinking his coffee and like the king in Yertle the Turtle, feeling like the emperor of all he could see.  I thank my dad every day for the gift of this place. Ghosts of me – younger, thinner, perhaps more beautiful, but perhaps not.  I also see the future here – grandchildren I hope and many, many years with my honey who has learned to love this place as much as I.  Next door is a popular spot for weddings where, no doubt, my daughter will someday have her own wedding.  It would really be the only fitting place as she grew up, summer after summer, with her nose pressed against the window watching young women in white meet their beloveds with the ocean as a backdrop and a blessing on their futures. 

    Yes, I am in my Happy Place.

    1 like

    • Shannon Ingram Shannon Ingram says

      Love hearing about your happy place! I absolutely LOVE the San Clemente pier. Have enjoyed sitting around the fire rings at that lovely beach!  I lived on Lido Isle – two different times, for a total of about four years. Pure bliss for me, although not really great for my car-restorer husband so now we’re in Mission Viejo, which is great too. A Saturday at Lake Mission Viejo can be amazingly restorative and perfect for thinking about all of my life’s changes and milestones still to come. Loved hearing about your “ghosts” too!!!

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  3. Ann Harwood Ann Harwood says

    Some of my most favorite spiritual transformational places: FLORIDA – Life’s cycles from giving birth to my daughter in Winter Park to crossing Mother over in Lakeland.Especially the Gulf Coast Beaches at sunset. HAWAII – re-awakening my spiritual growth from Makaha & Enchanted Lake in Kailua, to the Big Island lava flows birthing new land. BALI, especially Ubud & Tenganan, an indigenous village, & their ceremonies. NEW MEXICO -the “Dark Night of My Soul” in the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico near Santa Fe, Four Corners & Chaco Canyon. MONTANA – “Living in the Light” in my Mission Mountains near St. Ignatius, especially Bear Spirit Lodge & living in nature & thankfulness. And, oh, there’s more…

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    • Shannon Ingram Shannon Ingram says

      When I think of transformation, you are always at the top of my mind, Ann! You and I started the hot fudge sundae for breakfast tradition in Hawaii. And from there you just kept on mutating like a fabulous ever-evolving butterfly. Dark nights and bright sunny days are equally important in the lessons we learn, right?  xxoo

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  4. Generic Image Victoria Stephens says

    Beautiful places, all. Hawaii, beaches in California, mountains in Colorado. I love them all. But my favorite transformational place is right here in my very own back garden. Convenient, too. Denver has a short growing season, so each and every day — from the beginning of Spring when the first hyacinths poke their heads through the snow, to the end of Autumn when frost puts the very last mums to sleep for a winter’s rest — I witness the coming and going of fern and flower, and relish my time in my garden. Each morning, I stroll out with coffee in hand to see what has changed since the day before. It’s a metaphor for life…always changing, some surprises (often weeds ), some constants (the roses coming back each year). I love it. And am transformed each walk I take through the garden I’ve been working on for 20 years. A gift from the Universe.

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  5. Shannon Ingram Shannon Ingram says

    Oh, Victoria, I love your description of your garden as a metaphor and know the depth of your love for such a magical place!  Thank you!!

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  6. Generic Image AnneECBC says

    Transformational places in the past aren’t available to me now. THAT insight is (or needs to be) transformational for me now.

    1 like

    • Shannon Ingram Shannon Ingram says

      AnneECBC…I’m guessing that you may have others, although there may also be a time when our consciousness rejects transformation.  I’m not sure about that, but hey, it might be a revelation someday!  :)

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  7. watermusic watermusic says

    This is an interesting question for me at this point. I seem to be in an inner place of transforming, simply moving into something new….I think. I have been to many wonderful and magical places, but place that is most helpful to me at this point is my overgrown mess of a backyard. I crave time with it and engaging in hard physical labor of clearing it out. 
    Generally though I need to be on river or spend time in the dawn of the day.

    1 like

    • Shannon Ingram Shannon Ingram says

      WaterMusic is such a great “name” for you! Oceans, lakes and rivers are all transformational places in my experience too…and mountains! My husband shared with me that his transformational place really is the bathtub. When he was a child, his family didn’t have a shower, only a bathtub in their one bathroom. To this day, he always takes baths instead of showers. He says he enjoys going from thoughtfulness to reverie and the opportunity for transformation is only limited by one of our two cats, Oscar. who likes to sit on the side of the tub and bat at the bubbles. Oscar is awesome.
      Thanks for your post!

      1 like

      • watermusic watermusic says

        I hate to admit how much time I spend in the bathtub. It’s my favorite place to read and think. A friend called me once when I was in the tub. She called back several hours later and heard me splashing and asked if I was in the tub again or still. Something about water.

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  8. Generic Image NancyL says

    Shannon, this post inspires me. I feel a transformation coming on but it’s not quite here yet. I see so many connections with others in this post, something I don’t feel that I have as much as I’d like in my personal life. I too love and feel inspiration in the mountains, Montana, Paris, rivers, in church and most of all my wonderful garden. I felt a spiritual connection in Sedona. There is a nature center near here and I sometimes go there and write. Much is revealed on those pages when I do. I want to see some of the places described here. I really relate to the wonderful women on this site. Thanks to all of you.

    1 like

    • Shannon Ingram Shannon Ingram says

      Nancy, I agree about all the wonderful women on this site. Our Vibrant Nation community is a new source of both consolation (when I need it occasionally) and inspiration for me. I’m guessing your upcoming transformation will be revealed in your own writing!  Best of luck….

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  9. Vicky1956 Vicky1956 says

    Great posts…so very inspiring. When I was growing up in the Denver area, I used to attend youth church functions with my best friend’s family. When I was in the 8th grade, we went somewhere in the Evergreen area for a weekend retreat. There was a deep blanket of snow, amd the cabins we slept in were about 100 yards from the clubhouse area. One night I was lagging behind (go figure), and I walked the 100 yards by myself. Of course I could see the clubhouse lights, and it was safe.

    About halfway there, I stopped. The moon was bright amd reflecting off the snow carpet, the stars were shining, and it was absolutely quiet. Silent. And beautiful. I stood for a few moments amd felt absolutely engulfed in this perfect cocoon…and I felt the presence and love of God envelope me.

    That moment in time is my safe place. It is my transformational place to this day. When I am weary or fearful or uncertain, I close my eyes and go back there to a time when my life was ahead of me, when I had no cares, when anything and everything seemed not only possible but probable, and I start from that point. Amd it doesn’t cost a dime and I don’t have to pack.

    1 like

    • Shannon Ingram Shannon Ingram says

      Wow, Vicky, I could feel the essence of your experience as a child in the snow on a moonlit night. And I love how those transformational experiences and places stay with us and are available whenever we are in a stressful moment. I feel the same way. I lived in Colorado for years and I miss “snow carpet” under the stars.  Thanks for such a beautiful visual!

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