Monday, October 31, 2011

Turning My Life Around

This is my fourth day home from Moloka'i. I am happy to be home and, already, I miss it. It's a strange and beautiful place with a strange and beautiful hold over me. There's no question that my time there changes me; knowing that is one thing, understanding or articulating it is another.

That said, I do realize that I've come home knowing it's time for some much needed restructuring of my life. It's time to stop pissing away my moments and days, and start committing myself to the things that I say constantly I want. Things like art. And writing. And movement. And meditating (or really, just stopping long enough to smell the roses). The things that bring me back home to myself. I want to stop wasting time on the internet. I want to stop driving all over three counties to see friends. Not that I no longer want to see friends, I just want to stop using being social as a distraction from myself, to somehow prove to myself that I am likable, even friend-worthy, to reassure myself that if I died today, there might be more than just a handful of people at my memorial; I want to start being more discerning, I want to create the space to bring the discipline back into my life that was there for the year and a half that I wrote daily - and produced a three hundred and fifty page manuscript. I want to burn sage and candles, listen to chanting and Loreena McKennitt, do a simple yoga pose or two, stretch, eat well, get back into my body, and be. From there I want to create an alive and beautiful work space, somewhere that I long to come each morning, that will feed my soul and nurture my spirit; where being - and its offspring creating - will flow naturally and spontaneously ~ just like I want to believe it is supposed to.

Maybe it's safe to say I've come home with a renewed sense of purpose. Which is ironic, because purpose is something I have struggled painfully with over the past few years; its seeming lack the source of great despair; then yesterday, sitting in satsang with Bentinho Massaro, hearing him say that our only purpose is to be who we are. I don't even really know what those words mean but I do know that something inside me let go, breathed a huge sigh of relief, and relaxed.

Nothing more is necessary than to be yourself. Wow. Simple. Profound. A no-brainer, really. And since I'm never quite sure what or who that is, I can reduce it to even simpler terms. Nothing more is necessary than to be... And here we are... full circle. Creating not just the intention, but the space, literally and figuratively, to help me just be.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Moloka'i is a unique island. It is a land of powerful prayer and powerful energy. I have felt that energy personally  and have been gifted enormously by it. Moloka'i has the largest percentage of native Hawaiians of any of the major islands. Her people are strong and powerful, and the spirit of aloha is palpable here. In ancient times, they kept conquerors from landing on their shores by the power of their chanting alone. In modern times, they have successfully resisted big change and tourism through their passion and grassroots activism. Their motto, Don't change Moloka'i, let Moloka'i change you is apt. She will, she does, if you let her. 

Today they are fighting big business and the State of Hawaii to keep giant wind turbines from being erected on their small island. The energy from these wind turbines will go by undersea cable to support tourism on Oahu. Here on this particular island electrical costs are the highest of anywhere in the United States, yet not one drop of the energy from these turbines will be realized locally. Not only that, they will be erected at great cost to this land and her people.

Today I am using this space for something I have never done before and would not ordinarily do... I'm going to ask you to take five minutes to watch a short film... if you are moved to do anything beyond that, well, that would be great, too. 

If you are interested in learning more, or even in supporting their effort with a very small donation (they are asking for donations of $10), please go to I-ALOHA-MOLOKAI and watch the short film, beautifully crafted by PF Sterling, a Moloka'i resident, who in his "past" life, spent thirty years at the White House as a photojournalist for Time Magazine. 

Please don't be put off by the commercialism of My understanding is that it's turned out to be the best place for the actual fundraising. I have had the privilege while here of meeting and spending time with many people intimately involved in this cause. Some have become true friends. It is legitimate, and they can use all the help they can get. These wind turbines have been approved at the highest level, though it is far from a lost cause. It is not the first time the people of this island have fought hard for their home. I'm guessing it won't be the last.  I am told that this first film has landed on the Governor's desk and he has sat up and taken notice. Contributions will help fund continued films that will help to fight for this cause.

Aloha nui,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Greater White-Fronted Goose and Me

A few mornings ago I was out on Kepuhi Beach and noticed this goose. It was all alone, and judging by the footprints in the sand, had been having a nice long walk on the beach. The only goose that I know of that's home to the islands is the NeNe, a beautiful little endangered species found mostly in the "up country" areas; and I was pretty sure this wasn't a NeNe. It was aware of me but not frightened, and ambled slowly, stopping occasionally to preen for me as I took photos. I found out later that this is a Greater White-Fronted Goose, that it's likely from Siberia, and that it took a wrong turn during its long migration and ended up here.

I'm thinking this goose and I might have a lot in common. Though I don't know that I necessarily took a wrong turn, I do know I've ended up on this small island feeling alone and isolated, and very much challenged. Despite my first rush of excitement when the plans to come here were made, it has not been as I had hoped. Two years ago I spent three months out on the remote west end and not only did I never feel lonely or isolated, I experienced a huge amount of opening and joy. Last time I was grieving and feeling incredibly lost, but had not been clinically depressed; this time, with depression still lingering, day by day I feel it moving once again closer, blowing in like thick gray fog on a strong onshore breeze. I've moved from one living situation to another hoping that would change things; but the second one is not working out either.

I'm not sure what today will hold. I left the new digs not planning to stay another night. I will either have a new place to stay, one nearer the ocean, or I will have changed my reservations and will be home earlier than I expected.

We just never know what life will bring. And in spite of what we most often think, we are never in control of what it brings. It's probably even true that we are never actually lost. Ever. What made this goose turn and land on this island? What was it that made us meet a few mornings ago on the beach? How will it know when it's time to fly off again? How will I know...? Are we puppets being animated from some large, knowing hands above? What about our own instincts, our own internal knowing, that if we stopped long enough might reveal itself? Today it seems is more a day of questions than of answers. And surprisingly, I'm okay with that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Moloka'i Again

                                    The after yoga rainbow...

Yesterday I went to yoga on the beach. I lay there, unable to keep my eyes closed in various poses because I was more interested in watching the clouds constantly changing form as they moved across the island and back out to sea. How beautiful they were! Pure white against a deep blue sky, then the moist gray ones moving through, letting go of a few drops, then back to wispy white. I remembered suddenly how as a kid I would lay on the grass and watch the sky, seeing objects form and then unform, as my mind wondered about all sorts of things. But what I remembered most of all was the sense of absolute wonder that would accompany something so simple.

I’ve lost that sense of wonder. Decades ago, I think, left behind along with skinned knees and roller skating too fast down hills. Though there have been respites; sitting in my garden watching the birds splash in the fountain, when the all too rare tiger swallowtail or monarch butterfly would happen through, when the true perennials would poke their little shoots back through the soil again in spring; my daughters’ fingers and toes when they were babies; starring into Crater Lake or standing on Happy Isles in Yosemite. Still, if mere clouds drifting across the sky can induce it, why then has it become such a rarity?

Moloka'i is a good cure for lack of wonderment. Though even here, I have whole days where it is absent, nearly whole days where I miss the beauty, where the challenges seem infinitely greater than the gifts. This is an altogether different trip than my first one. Last trip was about true retreat, about just being, about opening the door to begin healing. This trip seems more about getting lessons, and they are abundant, and sometimes difficult. Some days just staying is the success. Still, once I got it that even this is her divine grace, possibly even perfectly orchestrated, I could bow in humbleness, even to the wonder of it all.

Some of the many moods of Moloka'i

For more photos of Moloka'i, click here for my Snapshots blog.