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Recovery from Near Death Experience Produces Life-Changing Benefits

June 8th, 2015

Lisa Garr literally fell down a mountain and nearly lost her life. It was one of the best things that ever happened to her.

She was an ambitious, young athletic woman in the most competitive race of her career -- it was the last two miles of the California State Woman’s Mountain Bike championship competition. The three hour race was grueling, mostly uphill. Due to the sweltering 104 degree heat, her body became severely dehydrated.

Lisa Garr. Courtesy: The Aware Show

Lisa Garr. Courtesy: The Aware Show

She had just reached the top of the mountain, was two short miles from the finish, about to take over the lead, when the unthinkable happened. She blacked out at top speed, and careened over the side of the mountain, her body tumbling head over heels, her head hitting the rocks so hard and so often her helmet cracked in 13 places.

She remembers being flat on her back staring up at the crisp blue mountain sky. She’s looking down from a vantage point at her passed out body lying on the ground. She could hear and feel the urgent words of the Emergency Medical Technicians.

But she felt euphoric – totally at peace floating in the most peaceful place she has ever known. Somehow she realizes that if she didn’t get back into her body soon, she’d remain in this all too comfortable place.

She watches as a man runs up and the EMT says, “Are you Jon? She’s been asking for you.” And she sees a silver chord of light attach from his body to hers connecting the two of them. And she realized that she needed to let him know she was okay.

And she opens her eyes…

Courtesy: The Aware Show

Courtesy: The Aware Show


In “Becoming Aware: How to Repattern Your Brain and Revitalize Your Life” Lisa Garr tells the story of how she immersed herself in the ordeal of recovery.

She damaged the part of her brain responsible for language. When panic set in, Jon was her voice. She started to rebuild her brain using a cutting edge type of EEG technology that sends signals to the damaged areas of her brain, trying to get them to respond to positive images. She came to understand deeply that there is a real scientific basis to the fact that our thoughts create our own reality and that it is possible to heal from within.

She also came to recognize that healing is an ongoing process and that it is necessary and beneficial to get a tune-up that freshens and revives one’s awareness and commitment to one’s own healing process.

Drawing upon the wisdom and personal experiences she went through, she skillfully takes the mystery out of the many lessons to be learned from her experience.

She describes how to use your will to create what you want on multiple levels and harness energy and use your own maximum wattage to get where you want to go in life, even when life forces you to go through several U-turns. She explains how to get back on track even when the road beneath you seems to have crumbled.

She offers guidance designed to bring lasting, transformative and soul-searching change, in ways that stir the soul. Here are just some of her  insights:

What is Awareism:
Everything happens for a reason. It is what it is. We are not our bodies. We are pure expanded consciousness.

Where There is a Will There is Definitely a Way
You create what you want in life on multiple levels. Your thoughts and your actions create your reality. It’s actually quite easy, inspiring and results-driven to live in this way instead of feeling like you’re a victim to what’s going on around you. The truth is that we’re powerful beings who were put here to live very fruitful lives. Quite often what stops us…is us.
Remember these words:
You think about what you want.
You create it in your mind
Then you become it with enthusiasm.
Then you are grateful for it.
It’s just that easy.

Awareness plus action are the perfect combination for living the life that you want to live.

Remembering Your Future is the Key to Awareness
You don’t need a near death experience to see what is ahead of you. You can  sit down in any quiet space and create memories in the future. She writes, "Neuroscience studies show that when the brain visualizes the future that you can work towards getting exactly what you want because you are forming new neural pathways and neural bundles of the images you want to achieve as if they are already happening."

Remember that your brain is an intense organ in terms of your emotions and that you have five senses to help you experience life. When it comes to seeing into your future, you must use all five of those senses. Ask yourself:

*What does your future look like?
*What does your future feel like?
*What does your future smell like?
*What does your future taste like?
*What does your future sound like?”

Turn up all five senses and hear the sounds and taste the tastes. Feel the thoughts and turn it up again as you mentally enhance your positive future. In doing so, you are creating neural networks that will make those memories in the future. You are bridging the gap between the mainstream and spirituality while neural chemicals are actually being released including dopamine and serotonin that will also allow you to stay in a happy mood and in a good state. You will break up old neurons and create new ones.

Reframe Yourself Instead Of Thinking That You’re A Fraud
The reason why it’s so important to reframe unfortunate situations, is that you must stop yourself from obsessing. Why? Obsessing over what’s unfair or wrong or bad about your life just takes your time and energy away from making your life better. Your inner criticism lurks because perhaps you don’t reframe situations as they arise in your life. All you’re doing is pouring all that negative energy into your space. In the end, you need to be true to yourself, know your strengths, and reframe situations where you deal with the exact problem at hand and learn from it.

Improve your awareness by doing the following:
Don’t project your life issues onto your life stumbles.

Do not allow other people’s negative energy into your space. If it doesn’t register as authentic then reframe and look for the lesson here where you can celebrate yourself.

Feel proud of yourself when you’ve defeated life’s dragons and taken something or someone’s negative energy on and then triumphed over it. Also celebrate when you’re just smart enough to get out of the way of negativity.

Ask yourself why you have attracted any negativity into your life and work on getting rid of that issue. You might ask why you have attracted someone negative into your life. Remember that the brighter you are then darkness might try to attach to you to squash your brightness. Work on attracting more light and ridding your life of negative people whenever possible.

Know that bad things happen, but your relationships with bad events, shock and criticism is what really matters. Of course, you’re not immune from these things, but what matters is how you deal with them when they happen.

Celebrate when you reframe a bad situation and get rid of bad energy. That’s a victory worth repeating in your mind again and again.

“I came back from my accident realizing how important the brain is in our personal development, especially when you combine cutting-edge brain transforming techniques with spiritual lessons. My purpose is to inspire growth and change," concludes Garr.

What a story of remarkable courage, hope and encouragement!

Race for Charity at Xterra Freedom Fest

June 3rd, 2015

Triathlete Amy Bennett Eck is one of the most energetic and inspiring women I've have the pleasure of knowing. For a while, after I had a baby, I took her boot camp training clinics, which absolutely kicked my booty but also fostered in me an admiration for this fearless, intelligent, beautiful, powerful woman.

Amy Eck

Amy Eck

She, through her company Camp Bennett, started XTERRA Freedom Fest in 2009, to raise money for local charities and encourage families to get out and play. The non-profit believes fitness, nutrition, and community are the foundation for health and happiness.

The XTERRA Freedom Fest is an annual racing event in Ka’aawa Valley. More than 1,000 athletes from around the globe will rally to raise money for charities. "Their efforts will be rewarded with amazing views, a BBQ, free beer (for responsible participants over the age of 21), and live music from local artists!" she promises.

Proceeds will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and Access Surf. “At Camp Bennett, we are committed to bringing life enriching opportunities to people of all ages and abilities. This event is a fun-filled day for the whole family! It is truly inspiring to see the difference we are able to make together,” Eck encourages. She is the race director.

Athletes can choose from the following race events: 5K XTERRA Adventure Hike/Trail Run, 10K XTERRA Trail Run, XTERRA Triathlon (1K swim, 20K Bike, 10K Run), 1K Ocean Swim, 20K Mountain Bike, 40K Mountain Bike, and the Big Three (10k Run, Triathlon, 40K Mountain Bike).

Unlike most races, age group winners qualify for the XTERRA World Championship Triathlon in Kapalua, Maui. Trail run overall winners receive free entry to the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in Oahu this December.

Registration for the 2015 XTERRA Freedom Fest is now open online at The XTERRA Freedom Fest, presented by Camp Bennett in partnership with XTERRA and Kualoa Ranch, will take place on Saturday, July 4.

Camp Bennett partners with XTERRA, a Hawaii based company with 100 global events. To learn more and register, visit

Mahina`ai Night: Rally to Save Kaho`olawe

May 30th, 2015

The Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) will be presenting its next Mahina`ai Night on Tuesday, June 2 from 6 - 8 p.m. at its Kihei boat house property, an 8-acre parcel designated to the KIRC in 2002 as the future site of a Kahoʻolawe learning center. Its inaugural event was on May 9.


The theme of the June 2 event will be Kahoʻolawe Culture; upcoming event themes will include Kahoʻolawe Restoration, Kahoʻolawe Ocean Resources and Kahoʻolawe History. Click here for a schedule.

Part of a series of full moon events geared to raise awareness of and access to Kahoʻolawe, the event offers a guided tour of the KIRC's new walking trail, live music by UH Maui College's Institute of Hawaiian Music, food vendors, an opportunity to talk story with experts in Kahoʻolawe history, restoration and culture and the unveiling of a 40-foot mural; a collaboration between Kihei Charter School and Maui artist Valentin Miro-Quesada.

This program is made possible by a grant through the Maui County Product Enrichment Program (CPEP).

Tuesday, June 2, 2015 (6 - 8 p.m.)
The 45-minute tour begins at 6 p.m. sharp. Music from 7 - 8 p.m.

Free & open to the public
Park at the Kihei Boat Ramp and follow signs for the Kah`oolawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) - just a short walk to the boat house site (2780 South Kihei Road)

RSVP's are requested at or

NOTE: Flashlights and closed-toe footwear are strongly recommended as you will be walking on a mulch-lined path amongst kiawe. Because there are no ATMs on site, please bring cash or checks if you plan to purchase food, beverages or to make a c

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12th Ave Grill's Pinot Noir Dinner

May 27th, 2015

Honolulu’s acclaimed restaurant by Kevin Hanney, 12th Ave Grill, kicks off a series of dinners celebrating its 12th year this summer, featuring a multi-course Pinot Noir Dinner, hosted by Wine Director Rick Lilley and menu by chef J. Schoonover, on Monday, June 1 from 6 to 9 p.m..

Starting off the night in style with a sparkling wine reception and passed pupus, the dinner will spotlight the 12th Ave Grill’s delicate, custom-blended Pinot Noir, created in collaboration between Lilley and the renowned artisan vineyards, Tyler Winery, located in California’s Central Coast.

To honor the collaboration, 12th Ave Grill’s Chef Schoonover will prepare a colorful four-course menu, highlighting the sustainable and innovative Hawaiian cuisine of the restaurant, alongside a curation of wine pairings from Tyler Winery’s elegant portfolio.

Big Island Abalone & Ama Ebi Duo
Butter seared abalone with inamona gremolata
Ama ebi crudo with lemon balm oil & crispy fried head

Tyler, 'Bien Nacido', Santa Maria, California 2012
Tyler, Santa Barbara, California 2012

Calamansi Cured Duck "Ham"
Scalloped Ewa leeks, Big Island fig & Manoa honey gratin
Pinot Noir
Tyler, '12th Ave Grill Pinot Noir', Santa Barbara, California 2013

Caraway Dusted Ni`ihau Lamb Loin
12th Ave Cuvee marinated & grilled Hamakua abalone mushrooms, shaved local fennel & crispy lavosh
Pinot Noir
Tyler, 'Bien Nacido Old Vines', Santa Maria, California 2012

Kula Strawberry & Ho Farms Lemongrass Sorbet
Fresh minted local fruit & macadamia nut tuille

The four-course dinner is priced at $140 (includes tax and gratuity). To purchase tickets, visit


Kaimuki woman is boxing's oldest current World Champion

May 20th, 2015

When I reached Eileen Miyoko Olszewski by phone, she was just finishing her two hour daily workout at the boxing gym. She's keeping it "short" now that's she's 46 years old, she told me.

Diane with boxer Eileen Olszewski

Diane with boxer Eileen Olszewski

"I run about ten miles a week, in addition to shadowboxing 20 minutes straight. I also spar two to three times a week. and add in stretching, and reinforcement exercises to work the underused muscles," she detailed, making me tired just hearing it!

It's the kind of determination that catapulted Olszewski to the title of the oldest current boxing champion in the world, male or female. She was 45 years old when she earned that distinction in September 2013 in a fight against Patricia Alcivar for the world flyweight title. It was a quick ascension for a woman who only turned pro seven years before, at age 38.

Boxing champion Eileen Olszewski

Boxing champion Eileen Olszewski

In a way, it's a surprising turn for the Palolo native, who didn't expect to make a career of professional boxing, despite the fact that she loved to watch boxing every Saturday on television with her father.

Still, the Kaimuki High School graduate had danced through school, and after graduation, turned down a partial Rainbow Dancer scholarship to the University of Hawaii at Manoa to train with ballet great Noland Dingman in Florida. From there, she parlayed her dancing skills into a job at Disneyworld, before moving to New York City and taking odd jobs before finally scoring a rare opportunity.

"I was selected to be a Knicks City Dancer for the New York Knicks NBA team. This was from 1992 to 1995 under Coach Pat Riley, when this was the hottest ticket in the NBA, and when hip hop was in its golden age!" reflects Olszewski of the unforgettable experience.

After her tenure with the Knicks ended, Mortal Kombat: Live Tour hired her as a stuntwoman as it played on stages across South America.

Eileen and Matthew Olszewski

Eileen and Matthew Olszewski

Olszewski transitioned into boxing after she met her husband, Matthew, who was a boxing trainer. "I met Matthew in a martial art studio in Chinatown in Manhattan. I was rehearsing for a kung fu movie trailer with Stephen Tartarglia, a stuntman in Hong Kong and in Jackie Chan films. Matthew was visiting New York and strolled in. We both were surprised later to find out we liked the same restaurant out of the hundreds in Chinatown!"

Matthew started training her and recognized she had an aptitude for striking. "I like boxing. Like dance, it's both an art and a science. I like that there's always more to master," she explains. "I constantly continue my education; I study anatomy and kinesiology for my work as a trainer and rehab/performance specialist. I study fights and train with high intensity to stay in top of my game."

With his encouragement, Olszewski pursued the sport seriously. "I still remember my first fight. It was terrifying! I still remember little details like the floor being turquoise, and this woman coming at me, me trying to block her and looking at the floor wondering, 'Why am I here? All my friends are back in Hawaii having babies!' Then I told myself to get a grip  and I stopped her in the second round."


Looks are deceiving. In person, she is gorgeous - a petite and feminine woman whose beautifully sculpted muscles don't seem like they can deliver such a punishing blow.  She smiles easily and radiates charisma.

She's not sure when she will hang up the gloves and what would be next, but says a logical transition would be to train up and coming fighters. "I have assisted Matthew in training his latest two amateur champions, however he has already produced many amateur champions and has trained and cornered several professional world champions" she details.

When she's not boxing, she likes to cook, stroll through flea markets, and picnic at Central Park, which is near her residence. She says she'd love to retire in Hawaii!

Meantime, she's planned a visit to Oahu for this fall, to see her mother, and possibly, make a public appearance. Count me among her new fan base.