There have been many times in my life when I’ve truly marveled at my good fortune. Don’t get me wrong, I have experienced grief and sorrow that I would never wish on my worst enemy but over my lifetime, I’ve been truly blessed. My travels bring so many diverse people into my life and force me out of my comfortable introvert bubble. I know that some of you who have met me find it difficult to believe that I’m an introvert but I am. My mom thinks of me as “lively” but I am a true INFJ.
When I stand in front of large audiences or workshop groups, it sucks every ounce of energy out of my core. By the end of a presentation or session, I just want to be alone to recharge and reenergize. No phones, no people – just Pi’ilani all alone.
Despite my quiet nature, I’ve made a deliberate choice to be open to meeting people and experiencing life to the fullest. My daughter, who is an extrovert with a capital “E” has set an excellent example for me to follow. She lights up a room with her smile and warmth. It is hard to not fall for her dynamic personality and charm. So when I’m in a new and unfamiliar situation, I choose to reach out to people and make connections. This has led me to meet so many interesting people and has created a large support network for me. It also makes life hella fun!
In June, work events kept me away from paddling, hula and karate. I’m grateful to be doing work that has an impact on so many lives but it has been extra demanding of my energy since April 2014, when the company I work for announced that they would be relocating all HQ offices to TX. Personally, I felt a lot of anxiety about it throughout 2014 and I was tapped to do North American Diversity Communications, on top of my day job, and that caused my workload to grow exponentially. Now that I’ve made a conscious choice to focus on helping the company through this transition and not worry about whether or not I will be moving, my personal stress has been alleviated. However, I’m dealing with conflicting priorities, different laws and regulations, and a lot of unknown factors. Trying to provide clear, concise and constant communications through this time of unrest and turmoil presents quite a challenge. There are no rules because we are writing new ones. There is not one work culture because we are combining four. Being comfortable with uncertainty is very difficult for most people. I’m just doing my best to stay flexible like bamboo, to bend but not break.
And, I am now seeing friends leaving the company. That never used to happen. It feels like a little funeral when I see people pack up their desks and go. And every time it happens, I need some time to mourn the loss.
So all this change and uncertainty seeps into my heart. When any other stressor is introduced, I find it really hard to keep smiling because my heart aches. Over the past few weeks, our country experienced mass shootings in African American churches and my mentor from work was arrested in Japan for mailing herself her own Rx painkillers. This happened while I was trying to nurse a horrible injury that completely disrupted my preparation for a karate tournament. Ugh. I just couldn’t deal with so much at once.
Thanks to social media, my friend discovered that I was in AZ for work and sent me a two sentence text that cheered up my horrible day. “I was wondering why the sunrise was so beautiful. Now I know because you are close.” How lucky am I to have such sweet and supportive friends in my life? He and I met BF (Before Facebook) and have kept in touch, despite living in different states and timezones. Our daughters bonded as pre Tweens over french fries and ketchup/ranch dressing art. So J, and all of my friends who hold my heart so gently in your hands, especially T-rouble, I say Mahalo nui loa for reminding me that being lonely isn’t the same as being alone. I’m grateful and blessed.