By Sarah Hodges
“My move to Hawaii is directly tied to Still & Moving Center,” Miku Lenentine muses, reflecting on her 5 years of preparation to relocate to O’ahu. Miku is a skilled practitioner of an array of topics including meditation, yoga, and mindfulness and a valued teacher and friend of Still & Moving Center’s. She began teaching at the center during one of her visits to Hawaii over 4 years ago, and today she blesses us with her varied meditation classes. A student of many cultures’ traditions, Miku draws from Hinduism to teach the Gayatri mantra and also her 5-Koshas meditation, from Chinese culture for her meditation on Kwan Yin, and from her practices in various Native American and Nordic/Scandinavian traditions for her 7 Elements meditation.
Miku began traveling to Hawaii from her home in Alaska after her father and stepmother moved to the islands over 20 years ago. Every time Miku visited she felt as if she were coming home. A deepening insight came to her each time she arrived: “Hawaii is where I feel most alive.” Through great challenges, spiritual listening, and her inextinguishable vision, Miku remained powerfully called to these islands in the Pacific.
In her adult years Miku moved from her roots in Alaska to Seattle, Washington, pursuing an education in Environmental Science. There she met her husband Luke, and they began building their life in Seattle. As much as she loved the community she was building in Seattle, the call of the islands continued to pull Miku. So in 2015, Miku and her husband developed a 5-year plan that would land them on the island shores in a new place to call home. Over the years of preparation, Miku worked diligently finishing her PhD in Natural Resource Management at the University of Washington, her husband found a great job with Microsoft to help fuel their dreams, and Miku continued to take short “jumps” to Hawaii to feel out what it would be like to live on the isles.
During one of her stays on O’ahu she discovered Still & Moving Center, an answer to her search for a mindful community. “When I walked into the center and saw the Kwan Yin statue, tears began to well up in my eyes,” says Miku. “Just the feeling of the space was an answer to my prayers.” She first attended kumu Mālia’s hula class, and experienced an unexplainable rush of joy throughout the hour. Her body felt at home. The space, the dancing, the warm community that surrounded her, all touched that call within. In her following visit to Hawaii, Miku offered us a 5-Koshas Meditation series, beginning a heartfelt and continuing journey of teaching at Still & Moving Center.
Just as the time was nearing to make the final move to the island, Miku and her husband received an unforeseen change of circumstance. Her husband was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness that required immediate and prolonged medical care. As it happened, Seattle has the top medical facility for this disease. In a matter of days, their life plans drastically shifted. Miku’s husband began receiving medical treatment, and Miku began building a new vision for what their new life in Seattle could be. As hard as she tried, and as challenging as the situation was, she could not deny the added heartbreak of having to leave behind their dream of living in Hawaii. Being dedicated practitioners of mindfulness, both Miku and her husband nevertheless continued to navigate the unknown with as much grace and awareness as they could.
Just when all their plans were shifting, Covid hit the global population. Over the coming months, both Miku’s and her husband’s jobs went fully online. The change revealed a golden opportunity. Through the numerous months while Luke received specialized medical treatment, he and Miku continued to learn more about the diagnosis and get a better grasp of how they could progress. Working remotely meant Luke could now bring his medical insurance with him on the move to Hawaii, so her husband’s job no longer tied them to Seattle.
One evening while Miku was away visiting O’ahu, her husband called and told her, “Let’s do it. Let’s make the move.” Something had shifted again. It was as if a portal had opened for them to go through with the move. Her husband got the green light from his work. While still being practical, they didn’t want fear to hold them back. “We need to let ourselves try to live this dream,” affirms Miku. So Miku is here now on island, and Luke will be arriving shortly. One big step closer to their aspiration!
Miku sounds a tone of gratitude for Still & Moving Center: “I have never felt as fully seen as I have here at Still & Moving. I operate in many spheres, and somehow this rare space can encompass and hold them all.” In addition to teaching meditation at Still & Moving, Miku does research in Natural Resource Management, more specifically in how we as people relate to nature in the contemporary setting. She also teaches mindfulness and contemplative pedagogy in both non-traditional and traditional academic settings, including an upcoming series at the University of Hawaii. Miku’s mission is to help bring vibrancy to this world and to remind people of the sacred within themselves, each other, and all other beings. This she truly does. She lives what it means to reside in these modern times with deep awareness of the sacred.
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This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)