Between adventuring and resting, there was not much time to write while on retreat in Hawaii. On the plane ride home, I wrote until my hand could write no more as I tried to capture all the magical moments of this retreat. Traveling with a chronic illness is never easy. However by respecting the body’s limits, pacing, and with the silent power of meditation, not only is travel possible, it’s fun!
I thought about sharing excerpts from my journal, but instead I decided to share the posts and pictures that landed on my Facebook page during the trip. I’ve incorporated those posts into this blog, and added a few more photos and videos that didn’t make it on social media. On this most recent retreat, I’ve learned some important lessons that I plan to take with me into all aspects of life. I hope you can use them too. Enjoy Hawaii!
Like stars, we shine
for anyone who wants to look.
Progress – our own or that of others –
is none of our business
Our job is simply to shine.
July 18, 2016
Live above the clouds…
July 19, 2016
Cloudy on the mountain, but loving Hawaii!!
We left the summit clouds of Haleakala for the Lavender farm, where we found sunshine and Buddhas! If we are flexible, then life gives us wonderful surprises when things don’t work out as planned.
In Paia, we walked inside this little stupa, turning the prayer wheel. At first, my traveling companions started walking faster and faster until I felt I was about to break into a jog! (Apparently one of them was trying to get the bell to ring more often!) I had to ask them to slow way down, and remind them this was an opportunity for walking meditation. Once we slowed our pace, we began chanting OM AH HUNG, which was painted on the inside wall along with a majestic mural of various Buddhas. A little girl watched us with curiosity, so I invited her in when I reach the doorway. She walked with us as we turned the big prayer wheel. There’s always room for another friend on the Path. The acoustics in the tiny building were amazing. We all left there feeling the beauty and Light of all the Buddhas!
After dinner, a magical moon came out to play…
What do you see in this picture?
(I see a pyramid!)
July 20, 2016
There was a dog howling at the moon in the middle of the night near our room at the Kula Lodge. The wild roosters have begun to crow. And I know it’s going to be a wonder-filled day!
Amazing gift today…
The weather cleared this morning on the volcano so we could see all the beauty of the alien looking landscape of Haleakala. The sun warmed the air to an unusual high of 62 degrees at 10,000 feet!
Yesterday we had to put on rain ponchos and heavy coats and we couldn’t see 5 feet in front of us! Now we can see the Observatory and the ocean 10,000 feet below!
When we went walking and it became too warm, a light misty rain cooled us. When we became chilled, the sun would come back out to warm us up again. So magical to have the weather respond to our every thought! More proof that Eternity always gives us exactly what we need, when we need it.
We sat in silence on a grassy patch at the side of a trail at 8,000 feet while the insects buzzed and danced. The mist and sun continued to keep us comfortable. While in that little grassy field, we made a short video to share a wonderful story of the Aloha Spirit in action that we had witnessed in the parking lot. You can watch it below:
As we headed back, important decisions of whether the need to pee outweighed the need to rest were made. For one of us –not me, but I’m not saying who – the need to pee won forcing this person to make a dash to the bathroom in the parking lot, while two of us remained resting on the trail. When we got back to the car, the rain clouds had rolled in, completely obscuring the view.
So blessed to have the opportunity to see this and be here!
I am thankful I didn’t have to wait for a healthy body to enjoy the transient nature of it all! If you are out there waiting, know you don’t have to either. Get out and enjoy this amazing world in whatever way you can.
July 21, 2016
We left the Maui mountains and are now enjoying the Garden Island of Kauai. We are thankful for the pre-retreat clearing on Maui, and are ready to meet the others for the full “Touching Aloha” retreat!
I want to mention a note of gratitude for the kindness from the TSA workers at the Maui airport. My travel companions were TSA pre-check, but I wasn’t, so they left me at the security check point. I didn’t think the security line was very long, but when I got to what I thought was the end, I discovered it went farther than I could see, and snaked back and forth three times. The heat and humidity washed over me, and my muscles complained from the previous day’s walk on the volcano. I started heading for the back of the line and realized my body was not going to make it without severe consequences. The previous week I had read an article on the Mighty, which gave me the information that there is help at the airport for those of us with physical challenges (even if we don’t look the part) and the courage to show the TSA agent my disabled parking card. Without making a big deal of it, she pointed me towards the unmarked handicapped entrance, explained the procedure of showing the next agent my card, and saved me from what would have become a grueling increased pain flare that could have ruined the rest of the trip. We need to be willing to ask for and receive a reasonable accommodation when we need it. (The old me would have waited until the pain had become too intense to handle before talking to the TSA agent.)
The birds are chirping and the wind is dancing with the palms as the sun begins to rise.
May your day be as beautiful as the ocean kissing the sand!
July 22, 2016
We hiked up this trail, very slowly. A big Thank You to Lakshmi for helping me keep the correct pace! She used walking sticks, and her deliberate placing of each pole and each foot allowed me time to rest in between each step I took. My walk up the mountain was step step rest. This proves once again that going slow allows me to go far.
When we sat in meditation on the side of this sacred trail, I felt the energy of the land growing within me like an ivy vine, slow, strong and vibrant. Later when we talked, Lakshmi, our guide for this retreat, said the island of Kauai plants the seed of truth within us.
At this view point the wind was so strong it pushed me back on my butt right after this picture was taken!
The beach you see below is where we snorkeled with the fish and floated in the healing water.
“Can I push your feet?” asked my friend when we were in the water. The current was too strong for me to keep swimming against to keep my place next to the fish and coral reef and I was about to head out of the water. She pushed my feet while I steered, and we had a hard time not laughing with our masks on as we followed the fish around and attempted to avoid collisions with others enjoying the water. Accepting help from others allows us to explore much more than we can reach on our own.
July 23, 2016
We were able to visit the local Buddhist Temple, even though it was closed, thanks to our excellent retreat leader Lakshmi. She was able to find the caretaker and asked permission for us to sit in the Temple. It was such a blessing to be allowed to sit inside to meditate. After exchanging business cards with the Buddhist priest, we went outside to put our shoes back on. The temple priest came outside and gave us all books describing their particular path of Soto Buddhism.
In the parking lot, one our retreat members flipped open the book to a page with the Japanese character for Sangha. No matter the particulars of our personal Path, we are all connected in the community of Light.
After shopping, ice cream, and a great meal, we found ourselves somewhere over the rainbow…
There’s nothing quite like floating in warm ocean water as the waves rock you beneath a full spectrum, half-circle rainbow. Not that we needed it, but it was yet another wonderful reminder: Magic is real. The rainbow lasted for over an hour, giving us a chance to take pictures!
There’s also nothing quite like aggressive chickens on the beach!
July 24, 2016
Today I felt like I was in India. My first time at a Hindu temple for puja filled my being with endless bliss. The rain washed us clean before and after the ceremony. While listening to beautiful chanting by the monk, I easily slipped into meditation and Ganesh appeared before me as I sat in front of a huge statue of Lord Kartikeya!
At the temple entrance, Ganesh stood watch over a pavilion with a bowl designed to let you burn a piece a paper on which you write an obstacle you’re facing. Thank you Ganesh for removing the obstacles in my Path!
Photos inside the temple were not allowed, but I found this friend waiting at the end of the Banyan Tree meditation path. (see video below) The exact moment I rang the bell in offering a prayer, a small branch from the tree tapped my third eye. Very playful!
On our last night on this magical island, She cleared the clouds and showed us the stars! This retreat has connected me to the Fire element like never before. I feel the flames of love, and the joyful activity that is to come upon my return. So thankful for all the blessings on this journey!
July 25, 2016
Mahalo Kauai for all the magic!
To be notified of new blog posts, please join my Happy News Mailing List.
My work is entirely funded by my readers – by you. If you like what you have read, if you find insight or inspiration in these words, please visit my Support page to learn how you can help keep the work going with a one-time gift, or as an ongoing Patron.