In the Land of Shouldlessness

Aloha my friends,
Not gonna lie or be pc-humble about it: It’s been deliciously affirming hearing that my blogging here at Talking Story has been missed. Many, many thanks to those of you sending emails my way asking what I’m up to, and if all is okay. The answer, in short, is that my family and I are fantastic, and nalu-ing it; i.e. ‘going with the flow’ and taking our time to fully enjoy some great things which have happened for us.

I’ll spare you the personal details, but what it amounts to is this: I’ve been given the chance to explore my own Ho‘ohana at a level I’ve never achieved before, and much as the writer in me still thinks of Talking Story as my mothership, the ‘Manager with Aloha’ in me has put the blog (and all my old web haunts) in park, covering it with one of those weatherproof tarps that will keep the dust and dirt of intentional neglect off what remains precious and highly valued.

When will I strip off that tarp and re-rev the engine? I’m not sure, and suspect it will be for a while more. Taking my time with the Ho‘ohana part of my today and all tomorrows must call the shots. Chances like the one I’ve been given are few and far between, rare even, and I’d be a fool to let this one slip away from me.


Autumn colors are emerging in my Hawai‘i Island garden.

Unqualified Freedom

For all my life there’s been one concept which consistently emerged whenever I was pressed to articulate my ultimate dream: Freedom. I might qualify it in malleable parts, such as work freedom, financial freedom or something else, but that complete freedom to do, and be, whatever I wanted whenever I wanted was the dreamy common thread.

My ultimate freedom would come with an absence of wanting, because all my yearnings were satisfied. It would be freedom from all restrictions, and freedom from all excuses and justifications. Any reasoning would be completely reasonable. Best of all, it would be freedom from regret or guilt, and arriving in that place where you can play by your rules and no one else’s: There would be an absence of ‘shoulds,’ both from others and self-imposed. How’s that for a very cool Sense of Place?

That Ho‘ohana-seeking level I’ve arrived at, is one where there really IS this amazing absence of shoulds from others and I feel released. It’s taken me more that a half-century to get here, but I have! However the full journey continues” my next step is scary, much more than I’d anticipated it would be: I’m now assessing as honestly as I can, which shoulds have been self-imposed — even with good reason, but reasons which may no longer exist. I’ve attained this “I’m released!” liberation, but am I completely acting that way and taking advantage of it?

No excuses. No lies of omission. Raw, it’s-all-on-me truth and nothing else. This is delicious and daunting all at the same time. For instance” as a self-employed person, all my businesses (thus all my work) are self-imposed. Are they part of my shoulds?

Yes, they are. A very big part.

But that’s okay: There are new opportunities, some I’d never seen before.

Give me Probability

I like to say, and have deeply believed, that ‘everything was impossible until the first person did it.’

Yet I don’t know if that nirvana of unqualified freedom is truly possible. We revere selflessness so much as human beings who thrive in other relationships — and I do believe that reverence is a good thing. There are certain shoulds we believe are good; they are well-founded shoulds we believe grow us, and make us better people. Most of the heroes we rightly admire are the true givers who have figured out that ‘Imi ola [their best possible life] isn’t really about them at all, but about living a life which pursues the wellbeing of others. Being selfless is as good as it gets.

I must be honest with you in admitting I’m not there yet. I think we have to reckon with ourselves first, and I know I still need to do so. We reckon completely by questioning all of our intentions; that’s what Ho‘ohana is all about. We’re at our best for others when we’re at our best for “me, myself and I” at the same time. I’m convinced that means there are no more shoulds.

We also have to feel we can afford selflessness, financially and in other ways we each define for ourselves. I know I’m there: I can afford to move on. What’s required of me, is all on me. What I need now is bravery, and that courage to admit I’m the only one holding me back.

So what’s left when all the self-shoulding is gone?

In my case, once I stop qualifying freedom, I newly qualify intention. I question if my past practices are good enough for the future I want next. New practices require a change in rhythm. New intention marries better probability, and with increased probability something wonderful looms larger and becomes more real for us: Hope in a future we never had imagined before because we didn’t think we could. Possibility is redefined; it gets real. It’s like the difference between working to pay the bills, and doing the Managing with Aloha ‘thing,’ where you’re working for Ho‘ohana and ‘Imi ola instead, and living your best possible life along the way. Sweet.

Writing my newest Want Ad

Okay, I didn’t mean to get too woo-woo on you here. Wanted to light up your RSS for me with a “What you can expect” update, so here goes, best I can articulate for now.

I’m immersed in changing my businesses, and thus my job and my work. It terrifies me to write this, but not even Managing with Aloha is sacred —as a business I keep active. I remain very passionate about MWA as an adoptable philosophy of workplace health, and about values-based Aloha management being the way any business can be run: Managing with Aloha is a culture-builder. Yet I need not be a manager myself anymore versus a different kind of doer” managing others has been one of my self-imposed shoulds.

Not sure when all will be done, and what the end result will be, but I’m looking toward Probable first to get Newly Possible second. I’m aiming for Selfless third, very mindful about not taking on a whole new set of shoulds within my new Ho‘ohana intentions! Tricky business, this full honesty with self stuff.

Meanwhile, you’ll start to see other changes happening in my web presence as I reckon with my existing businesses. My intention there is to consolidate and lighten the load. I probably won’t walk you through everything by posting much here, because I’m just going to get stuff done by getting them done instead of talking through the process and writing about it.

Since I’ve never been at this exact place before, where I can explore and dwell in the Land of Shouldlessness, I’m not sure how long this will take. It’s a grand adventure though, and I’m giving it all the time it needs.

Talking Story remains ‘parked’ but it also remains my mothership of everything/anything I do online. If the entire internet somehow blew up and I were to start over, I’d rebuild my email 1st and this blog 2nd, so this will be the place we stay connected, and you remain in-the-know as it happens enough to be shared. During the holidays to come and turn of the year, I plan to comment on other blogs, talking story with our Ho‘ohana Community neighbors that way instead of initiating conversations here. When I start to blog again my subject matter may wander a bit” we shall see what happens, for there is a whole lot of possibility out there!

That’s it for now, and I promise to keep you posted. Mahalo nui loa my friends, thank you so much for staying close, for being in my world, and for remaining part of my Ho‘ohana Community of love and support. I appreciate you more than I can say.

A hui hou for now,


  1. says

    Rosa, I have not the faintest idea what your’e talking about, but you sound happy and excited so it’s all wonderful by me! Have been missing you online… good to know all is well x Looking forward to whatever it is that’s next.

    • Rosa Say says

      Did not mean to be cryptic Joanna, sorry if it reads that way! The short and sweet of it is that change is in the air, and yes, it’s all good! Thank you for stopping by with your words of encouragement.

  2. Anne says

    I have missed the emails and Tweets, Rosa, and have been wondering what’s going on, so thanks for the update! You are journeying to the next level of your life’s story and it’s exciting to journey along with you and the unknown’s you are stepping out into, bravely.

    I recently came across a sentence that has caused me to do some changing in my life: “Do the thing you never thought you could.” For me, it was making a speech in front of 70 people, being transparent w/ my life struggles. What evolved was now I’m leading a class on our “stories”…and how to get out of the cage of strongholds that imprison us and hold us back from “life”… You are moving on towards what’s next and not being “stuck” in what was (which was good then, but now there’s “more”)…

    :-) Happy days to you!

    • Rosa Say says

      Wow Anne, congratulations on your Stories classes! I am sure they will be a big help to many, and selfless service to others through and through. Your speech took considerable bravery – so proud of you!

  3. Roselia Conrad says

    All I can say is, “You GO GIRL”. I sure know where YOU are coming from, as I have left the land of “shoulds” two years ago to explore “shouldlessland”, and I must say, I am a changed woman/person. Its an ongoing practice, this “shouldless” life, ever demanding conscious choices. Surely it will get easier and easier as I allow and enjoy myself just being me!! Expectations from others are ever non ceasing, so….. as I take a deep breath and get into the nalu each new day, surely Spirit will keep my focus clearly on what is most important in my heart, my life…making this life adventure ever more interesting and deeply enriching. I am back on Big Island, in the Unknown, practicing, practicing, practicing “less shoulds”…very very scary and uncertain, yes.
    And, very exciting as well…recapturing the awe of a child. As you continue YOUR work in progress, Love and Light, you are with others on the same path as you. Blessings.