Friday, October 16, 2009

Home... & Some Unexpected Waxing... (as in philosophical, not bikini line)

Returning this morning from Kumu Farm, where I buy fresh papayas and apple bananas, fresh basil, and this morning roma tomatoes just off the vine, it was so clear out over the water it seemed almost like I could reach out and touch the island of Oahu. Rising bold and beautiful twenty-some miles across the channel, surrounded by the deepest blue ocean I think I’ve yet to see, a crown of clouds lying atop her highest peaks, it was as peaceful as it was breathtaking.

And as natural to me, as dear to me, as any vista has ever been.

I am very well aware that my time here is somewhere near the halfway mark. Maybe not quite, maybe already passed, I don’t know for sure, because I purposely don’t count and I don’t look at a calendar. From where I sit, somewhere on the continuum of my stay, I do know that there is not one cell in my body that is ready to go home. I can say that in part because it is so easy to be away now days. Free long distance phone service, email, all make it easy to stay in touch with the handful of people that I would otherwise sorely miss being away from. And I can say it also because this experience is just so agreeing with me.

In many ways, this feels like home now. Not only am I thriving in the beauty of this natural, aloha-filled setting, but also in the rich simplicity of life here. No restaurants, no traffic, no crowds, no pollution, no stress (well, except the new upstairs neighbors who are heinously obnoxiously noisy…). I am very comfortable, have my routine, even a small community of people who feel as though they’ve become friends—something I would have thought could only be a boon. Yet I’m finding a backlash in the loss of autonomy, and a breach in the solitude that seems necessary for me to reach in and touch the deepest places of my being—or let them be touched. To avoid others, I surprisingly find myself going off in different directions. To the other end of the beach in the early evening, to the places where no one else goes, the beautiful painting of the sun setting on water all the company or conversation I could ever need or want.

There seem to be more unanswered questions, more uncertainty about my life now than when I left. Just the opposite of what I expected. At the same time, I am aware that deep seeds of change-also unexpected, though probably hoped, maybe even prayed for-are being sown, watered, and nurtured toward growth. New habits, fresh priorities and perspectives, a growing consciousness of how I genuinely want to live my life... simple things that are simple here, though never, I realize, quite so easy back "home."

In the midst of my devastation at the prospect of moving out of my home, overflowing with sorrow and fear, a trusted friend told me that if we're grounded in Mother Earth, that we will always be home, anywhere, because ultimately, she is our home. She also told me that home is much more than a place, it is a state of being. It was enormously helpful to hear that at the time, and remembering her words in my first unsettled and unsettling couple of weeks here, I consciously grounded myself time and time again, whenever I thought about it. Just as I learned in my energy class, I would sit in my giant oak tree and send its fat trunk all the way down to the center of the earth. I would instantly feel stilled, centered in my body, and yes, grounded.

Now that feeling is almost effortless. Though I do notice that it can disappear as quickly, as effortlessly, as it arrives. I feel it most when I'm all alone. I'm aware of it when writing, when taking and uploading pictures, when snorkeling or swimming in the ocean, when watching the sun as it sinks toward and then ever so gently touches the horizon. I feel it when the mighty surf roars, when it trickles on the rocks with the melody of a babbling brook, and when it ripples almost shyly onto the hot sand. When I am lucky enough to see a nene (Hawaiian goose) scoot playfully across the road, have a giant sea turtle swim lazily next to me, be knocked to my knees by a wave I hadn't quite expected, be rocked on a boat, or cruising next to the highest sea cliffs in the world.

I am told that it is everywhere, this feeling. That some people shine with it even on their death beds. That it's not dependent on beautiful scenery, or oceans, or turtles, or good fortune or bad. It is how we are on the inside that determines the lens through which we see, experience and relate to life. How open we are. I have resisted this idea for as long as I've been exposed to it. Yet at the same time, I know that it is true. I also know that what happens outside can impact what goes on inside. Profoundly.

How much joy can you stand is a question my spiritual teacher asks often. Ad nauseaum in fact, to the point sometimes where I want to scream (and have!) Grasping my suffering as though my life depends on it, terrified to let go, seems somehow safer, more known. Moloka'i has given me the gift that even Isaac, my teacher, couldn't... the opportunity to really live that question - and to savor, and enjoy the hell out of it while I do.

I'll let you know if I ever find the answer... :)

With Aloha, from Moloka'i

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