When I left my job, my home, my friends, I jokingly said that I was going with my mid-life crisis. At the time, it seemed easier to tell people “I’m moving to Hawaii”, but the truth is that I was really simply untethering myself and embarking on a sabbatical/walkabout/vision quest. It took the first month of slowing down to understand for myself why I left and what I was doing. Not that it’s completely clear yet. A month of doing very little, of sitting in quiet places in nature and listening. Although my life in the Bay Area included a lot of unstructured time, I still felt like I had to put myself back together to go out and teach and what my soul was really crying out for was an opportunity to fall apart…Just as I was getting old (close to fifty, half way there) I felt an adolescent need to rebel, to express myself, to be authentic, to dance, to sing, to paint and play. My life felt small and crushing. I didn’t just want a change, I wanted a transformation. What better place to start the journey than Hawaii.
So, almost six months on the road and what have I learned? I have learned the importance of connection and friendship, the privilege of being able to take some time away from a regular job, and the nourishment of doing nothing in the midst of beautiful natural settings. There have been both spectacular “ups” and tremendous “downs”. But, it feels different when you have the time to sit with and truly feel the difficult feelings. Feel the difficult feelings without having to pack them back up into a box because you have to “put yourself back together”. It’s like children who have been cooped up in a classroom on a rainy day who are then allowed to run outdoors. The pain may still be there, but it doesn’t feel quite as heavy. When your mind expands to the width of the sky or the depth of the ocean, you begin to feel that you have space for a lot more.
And, then there’s the Joy….I had forgotten joy, true joy, and the natural world gave me a delicious taste of it again. Joy is on the other side of pain. When the pain has been freed and the body expands into the deep turquoise blue waters or communes with the redwood forests. Living, breathing, expanding, connecting. We need this connection to nature, to ourselves, to each other. It’s the difference between living and thriving.
And, interestingly enough, after taking this time off I feel even more ready to serve, to go back to work. I am planning to go back to the Big Island to live, but with five more months of travel, I am also keeping things wide open.
I am currently in the Pacific Northwest. The forests of trees feel like family. The dormant volcanoes like old friends. I am hoping to make it all the way up to Canada with a meditation retreat thrown in the middle. In the Spring I will visit friends in North Carolina and Tennessee. Going to places I’ve never seen before and most importantly, communing with good friends.
I sincerely hope that I see you on this journey. Keep checking my website here (or Instagram stories!) for updates.