Does it hurt? Pain is relative but it does make you stop and focus; to BE in the moment. With 2019 a week away, I remain reflective, and desire to BE in the moment. This picture takes me back to an important milestone in my life.

I am humbled by the poignant conversations I have had over the last week. They have all been the kind that potentially deserve a tattoo to mark the occasion. This image is of the ink-session where the beautiful Yvette Deterra co-created the third installment of my wrist/hand-art. Since I found her, she has been the only one to touch my skin. (side note: tattoos infuse ink as well as mana into your skin, so you want to pick the right person to mark you).

But we all have tattoos. If you havenʻt been inked on the outside, I am confident everyone has been marked on the inside. We all have engravings from emotional journeys of love, light, sorrow, and fear. We have all sat through the pain of lived experience be it a celebration or walking through a dark night of the soul.

I have other tattoos, but my wrist/hand tattoos are unique. They reach out into the world and touch people and places––the earthly things that draw-in as well as repel us. Mine are also meant to protect me by being a gateway through which all incoming energy must pass through before navigating towards my heart. They are also intended to guide me. Remind me. Act as amplifiers of aloha and mana so I can positively impact the humans around me.

The difference between internal and external tattoos is that the ones worn on the skin are intentionally collected––regardless of the reason–¬–and they offer a visual statement that speaks to all who see them. Those on the inside are received through choices; we make as an expression of our self-worth or lack thereof... of our commitment to live or from the fear to do so in the face of the unknown.

As we move into a season of renewal, out beyond the New Year, to the Spring Equinox that marks our rebirth, let us all focus on our internal imagery. Just as people rework old tattoos with new “cover” art, we can also transform our inner galleries. And removal is not the goal (in my estimation). We do not need to relive our outmoded (and often untrue) narratives but embracing them as our teacher helps them to lighten and fade.

It is not time that helps to heal and transform old wounds––it is a change of perception, and that can happen in an instant. Our lives can shift in "the blink of an eye" when we let go of the life we thought we needed and open to the life that we are growing with every choice we make.

Naiʻa Lewis