Angela Rhodehamel

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

In a few words I would describe myself as such: An avid yogi, a meditator, a communicator, a jester, an artist, and an adventurer. A studier of herbal remedies and their homeopathic, nutritional, and medicinal applications. A photographer, videographer, and capturer of the world via pen and lens. An avid supporter of civil rights, an activist for change, acceptance, and peace. A lover of the outdoors and all activities whether sand, land, or sea. A hopeless romantic, a believer in the best in people, and a faith that good with prevail. A loyalist, a comedian, and a student of all things. In the motto of The Swell, I’m a wholehearted believer that good will indeed grow. But much like that metaphor, this “good” needs to be watered and nurtured. It does, in fact, take the village on this one. Ever since I was a child, I have always been curious, inquisitive, and passionate. A seeker of sorts…learning, traveling, digging deeper past the surface to the unknown just beyond our reach. I was born and raised in Southern California and brought up in a moderately traditional family. My parents were young, my father a military man, but they raised my brother and I fairly; they communicated with us, they had dialogues, they gave us our moral compass’ and set us out into the world.

During my studies at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) where I majored in Communication with a double minor in Spanish and Religious Studies, I was compelled to learn about other faiths and cultures, what motivates and inspires us, and what fills us with that ever wondrous “spirit.”  I found that it’s the similarities that stood out for me more than the differences. This theme has always been pervasive to me, the theory that we are all interconnected, that we are all one. It is for that reason, that I became bilingual in Spanish. I knew that learning another language would tear down yet another barrier, allowing me to connect further with people I may not have had the opportunity to, due to language barriers. With the help of other like-minded “warriors” I hope to implore that togetherness and unity that I hope to grow into a type of social/global support system and archetype, regardless of your race, heritage, or faith.

I spent nearly a decade working service jobs just to save up enough money to afford my true love: TRAVEL. From backpacking through Europe for 6 months, to sailing around the Caribbean as crew on a sailboat for a year, to renting mopeds and trekking through Thailand, to zip lining and white water rafting through Costa Rican rain forests, to scuba diving in Panama…all the while building my career in TV/Film Production along the way.  In 2012, I moved to Hawaii and it is here where a lot of my dreams and passions were finally actualized and my life’s purpose began to take shape. There is an energy in Hawaii, a connectivity to the spirit, and to the source that I haven’t felt as strongly anywhere else. I believe that it makes it the perfect jumping off point for The Swell.  I met my partners Emily and Mica on Oahu upon moving to the island and I consider that one of the many “life-gifts” I’m so eternally grateful for. Immediately, we shared similar goals, dreams, passions and felt we could create this utopia together. We believe in the awesome power that can be created when people come together and support and “grow” one another.

I hope to bring my passion for yoga, herbology, nature, travel, healing, meditation, nutrition, and spirituality and combine them with the strengths of my gifted partners in order to create a sustainable space for healing and wellness not only for the body, but for the mind, and spirit. I also hope to inevitably blend my passion for the arts, social media, networking, filming and editing in order to incorporate tutorials, webinars, and virtual retreats. With that said, however, I’m just scratching the surface…the opportunities are endless and the rewards bountiful. Join the movement!

Mica Hashimoto

A self-proclaimed lover, wayfinder, healer, life coach, wellness warrior, beach bum, music maker, humanitarian, animal advocate, chef and foodie – I come from a diverse background, with a multitude of nationalities flowing through my veins. With roots in Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese and Korean decent, I draw daily inspiration from my melting pot of cultures. Having had the opportunity to experience some of life’s challenges in my late twenties and early thirties, I have gained a compassionate perspective on the precious experience of living as well as each individuals’ life path and purpose.

With a focus on service to others, I aim to provide loving, intentional support to all who come into my awareness. I am an avid Reiki practitioner, an ordained minister and a blossoming yogi who continues to build my life’s resume through everyday experiences and interaction with others. I draw from a well of gratitude in having been born and raised in the Hawaiian Islands. I have a vast love of the ocean and all its powerful beauty, as well as the quiet incubator of the mountain ranges that serve as the backbone of my island home.  I am thankful to be a part of an effort such as The Swell which allows me a platform to teach, learn,understand, practice the art of allowing and being, and spread love and abundance in all forms. I am deeply excited about learning from and with each person I have the pleasure of meeting. Working in collaboration with Angela and Emily has been a blessing in so many ways. It was a literal lifesaver for me to have met these women and recognize a similar spiritually conscious light and flame in them that was burning within myself.

I believe in family and the idea that such a unit is comprised of much more than those who are related by blood. I further believe that while we each have a unique path to walk, it is with the help, motivation and love of others that helps drive us forward to reaching our goals. With that in mind, I envision and am working with Angela and Emily to build the “village” that will help to serve ourselves, and others, for the highest good. With a focus on whole-body wellness, I look forward to working hand-in-hand with others to help them achieve balance in all areas of their lives. In being whole, they will possess the tools they need to pay it forward and in turn, do the same for others.


Emily Gonzales

Choosing competition over collaboration has always felt contrary to my instincts, and it confused me from an early age that this behavior was, and continues to be often rewarded in our culture. The ancient adage of an eye for an eye leaving the whole world blind, seemed to me intrinsically true of the human condition. Connection has been all I have ever seen. We are all connected, living on an island floating in space.

Growing up the daughter of a US Diplomat, I saw the tragedy and barbarism of war up-close as a child in Central America during the civil wars of the early 1980s. I lived through the tail end of the Cold War when my family lived mere hours away from the Berlin Wall. Win/lose thinking seemed preposterous to me. Could either the US or the Soviet Union WIN a nuclear war? Could wars ever really be “won”? Every human being understands what suffering feels like, why would we impose it on one another? Mathematically even, a cost/benefit analysis of this sort of thinking just didn’t seem to make sense.

I suppose I was an “odd” kid as these were the sorts of things that really kept me up at night. I hated dodge-ball, the ubiquitous PE staple of primary school. I couldn’t have been the only one. That adults were sanctioning this madness seemed to me to be in itself insane. As a result, I had some issues with “authority” as a teen, to be honest, I probably still do =-) The conflict in values and behaviors I was witnessing all around me and the early childhood trauma of living in a war zone contributed to regular and severe anxiety and depression and chronic physical and emotional pain. My story is actually very common. Sensitive, bright kid + scary stuff seen and experienced when young and impressionable + little guidance about good coping skills = depression, anxiety, and host of other symptoms. This equation is often lumped together at post-traumatic stress disorder, and it took some time before the many professionals I bounced around to arrived at this diagnosis for me.

I developed unhealthy coping skills such as self-abuse via alcohol, smoking, poor nutrition and lack of movement. These  choices only deepened my depression and led to more poor choices, resulting in adding shame to the stew of toxicity I simmered in. Even while “unhealthily coping”, I was always intrigued by wellness. I was drawn to yoga and natural medicine while a pre-teen and I minored in health and wellness as part of my undergraduate degree in multi-media. I became a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor to pay my way through college and yet as my depression deepened, I began to stop practicing the very things I knew were good for me.

I did however continue to amass a great deal of knowledge about modalities of resiliency and wellness while not necessarily incorporating this knowledge into my daily life. I tried and failed over and over again to quit my bad habits but it wasn’t until I became introduced to the concepts of Appreciative Inquiry, that I realized that I was looking at the equation of my well-being all wrong. What I needed to to do was START not STOP doing. I set out to use appreciative inquiry to heal myself. I identified those things in my life that made me feel healthy and happy. I began to do more of those things in hopes of making less room for those things that weren’t making me feel healthy or happy. I quit “quitting” things and instead began doing more of what I knew worked for me. This is not to say that there were not some medications and many hours therapy on the journey towards my healing. I took some of the help modern medicine could offer, but I also needed to unlock my being’s own ability to heal itself.

I added more time moving my body through yoga, dance and other exercise. I added more fruits, vegetables and minimally processed foods. I added more time with people I admire, mentors and folks with positive and collaborative attitudes. I added more art and music-making, meditation and mindfulness. I added more time in nature. I also added motherhood. The humbling gift of having been chosen to be the mother of my daughter in 2010 further deepened my commitment to wellness.

I am learning more about myself and so many others as I explore and practice this well-being of mind, body, spirit and community. I make missteps on the path and imagine that there will be frequent course corrections as I practice the change daily. But it is all nearly habit now, this feeling goodness. The unhealthy habits and painful states of mind and body have largely fallen away.  I am a work in progress but everyday I am thankful for surviving my darkest days.  I hope I am modeling attitudes and practices for my daughter that will help her develop her own well-being and resilience to serve her on her journey.

The Swell Collective project is part of my journey,  to heal and to be healed, to connect, to learn and to be of service. In 2015 I completed a professional development sabbatical earning my MA in Communications at the University of Hawaii. As a researcher, I explore social capital generation in socio-technical systems, specifically online social network sites. My practice is the facilitation of dialogue and decision making among diverse stakeholders that is rooted in wellness writ large. I am inspired by and indebted to my daughter Dylan, all peacemakers past and present, and a healthy planet.

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