Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lessons II... or... What Is It About Upstairs Neighbors

(A quick note: If you receive the blog posts via email from Feedburner (which by the way, I'm finding to be very unreliable), you may receive this one twice. My fault... I unposted, changed it a little, then posted again - though it's basically the same.)

After a month plus of such delicious quiet it was sometimes unnerving, I now have upstairs neighbors. Before I even knew anyone was up there, the friend I talk to everyday at the pool was letting the proverbial cat out of the bag. Oh, and was she excited. Debby, I have to tell you about your new upstairs neighbor!… On and on she went about how good looking this man is, all the while with the “have I got a prince for you" twinkle in her eye. Really Debby, just wait until you see him… if I wasn’t already married... she said, practically giddy with possibility. In five minutes I knew pretty much everything she knows about this man. Where he's from, what he does there, how long and how often he's been coming here, age (about same as mine), marital status (single), that he surfs, and did I mention how good looking he is… and that I told him all about you, what a fun and warm personality you have (what, no good looks on this end?) and he’s interested in meeting you???

So, of course, in spite of myself, the proverbial and very noisy wheel starts turning, the ball gets run with, in typical me fashion. Hmm… how interesting that of all the vacant units in this entire complex, of all the vacant units in “my” building, he happens to be right on top of me. Surely this means something. Surely this is fate… Hmm… in his fifties, single, apparently quite good looking…

And it doesn’t stop there, but drones embarrassingly, humiliatingly on: Maybe he’ll go snorkeling with me… maybe he’d teach me to boogie board… maybe he really is a nice guy… maybe he’s the kind of guy who sees people’s inner beauty… maybe it is kismet dropping him right there above me in an otherwise vacant building…

OH MY. What the mind does, all on its own.

But alas, it took, oh, about five seconds for me to get that not only is he not the frog/prince I’m (not!) waiting for, but he is quite possibly an out-and-out toad. I learned this because he talks constantly and so loudly he might as well be sitting in my living room. Which was the first strike, btw, the incessant and loud talking. But the fatal blow came when I learned, from his own mouth, him upstairs, me sitting innocently on my patio minding my own business (eavesdropping I believe it’s called) that he is a Howard Stern fan.

Stop right there.

I mean really, STOP RIGHT THERE.

First of all, who listens to Howard Stern????? And second, and most importantly, how is it that benevolent Moloka’i, my benevolent Moloka’i, created by the great mother goddess Hina, who welcomed my weary body and spirit with a stunningly gorgeous rainbow (the only one I’ve seen so far) as I sat on her cool sand my first morning here, who has nurtured and cared for me in such an extraordinary way not only welcomes a Howard Stern fan year after year, but then places him directly above me? Where I hear his every move, where his footsteps and his really annoying voice and his clop-clopping in his oversized flip-flops up and down the front steps like the Jolly Green Giant, unceremoniously wakes me between 4am and 6am every morning? Who seems to be hosting some version of realworld Moloka'i, who hangs out with possibly (from what I've heard) the west end’s most notorious party-er, who is also up there pretty much 24/7, who is apparently getting married soon and the bachelor shindigs have already begun, and whom I’ve already mixed it up with over noise before 6am, not to mention his off-color misogynistic jokes practically shouted at the pool. Mo, Larry, and oh yeah, Curly, Mr. Handsome's roommate, a seemingly quiet, possibly even cute little frog who somehow got mixed up with this noisy, obnoxious little band of outlaw toads.

I think it’s possible that my sarcasm is hiding (or not?) a tad bit of anger. Not, of course, that he’s turned out to be a toad, but that my peace, my quiet, my exquisite tranquility has been so shattered. Though once again, there are things that are not lost on me. Perhaps he is welcomed here because this is what he needs, truly. (Perhaps even more than I.) Perhaps it’s even what I need, an opportunity to remain open, grounded, centered, spiritually attuned, at home, even in the face of seriously unwanted experiences. For the truth is, it is easy (relatively speaking, of course) to be these things when the going is easy, when sitting in such a beautiful place, with such wonderful energy, without the normal daily distractions, issues, stresses. It’s much more difficult to remain open, accepting, centered, loving, etc., etc., to enjoy, when there is noise, chatter, disruptions, and yucky energy in the space. Though that, I'm told, is the true journey.

I know a man who “woke up” in prison. Who got it that he was free, even behind bars, and further, that if he could experience freedom even while in prison, he could experience it anywhere. His story has long been an inspiration to me, even now, years after reading about him and then finally meeting him. Or Buddhist monk and author, Jack Kornfield, who spent decades in the east becoming "enlightened" only to become immediately "triggered" once back home and back in relationship with family and friends.

And truly, can we really learn to sail if we do so only on smooth seas? Or does the learning truly come as we navigate the rough and stormy waters that are part of every ocean, every life. Obviously, even in paradise, shit happens. Case in point, toads not only under foot that I have to worry about navigating around, but toads also now overhead, ones that for my own good, it would behoove me to navigate if not with, certainly around, learn to coexist with, maybe even come to accept, possibly - long shot here - even open a little in compassion for.

When sailing, smooth water generally means no wind. No wind means no movement. No movement makes it difficult to "arrive" anywhere. Stormy seas, on the other hand, might either kill you or deliver you faster than you ever dreamed possible. And yes, I am aware that the storm brewing here is a tiny one, barely a blip on the radar screen. Yet because it comes during a time of such lovely calm, such beautiful tranquility, it seems ever so much larger and more menacing than it really is.

Now that I've gotten some perspective to help me along the way, I'll just go hoist my sail now.

P.S. I think I just may have caught THE toad and THE frog hanging ten just off Kepuhi Beach. How beautiful they are out there riding the waves between the Bougainvillea vines.

It's a good thing... I guess ;)

With Aloha, from Moloka'i


  1. Hi Debby:
    I thought you might enjoy this:

    Aloha nui loa

  2. Thanks for that, Lindsay. Yes, right up my alley! Here's one I just got yesterday. Maybe you'll enjoy it, too.


  3. Aloha
    Glad you liked the clip!
    Is there a name for the link you posted? I can't find it with the code(?) that's attached.
    (not a computer whiz either)

    thanks, take care,
    a hui ho

  4. Aloha again, Linday,

    The title, on YouTube is "The Reality As You Know It Does Not Exist."

    Hope you enjoy!


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