I've scribbled the alphabet for meaning since I can remember.
“Did you see where it go?”
“Nah. But I think so, it went down when he try and catch –“ is barely off my lips before Makalohi glides across the beach and dives easily under the waves.
It is a perfect blue of a day on O`ahu - the water, the sky, the light - all brilliant and crisp in a multitude of hues: azure, turquoise and periwinkle. Standing along the shoreline in Waimanalo at a child’s birthday party, one of the littler attendees had retrieved an adult’s empty green bottle, using it to play water games. One quick wave, and the empty Heineken buoyed away from the child into the deeper waters just out of reach.
Makalohi’s brother tried to retrieve the empty bottle, but his little arms and legs, where unable to reach. Unable to stand by and watch, his sister slipped into the ocean to retrieve the unattended mess.
“Is she looking for something?” a little girl of about six, in a navy and hot pink Hello Kitty bathing suits asks.
“Yeah,” I say squinting the sun out my eyes. “Someone was playing with a glass bottle and Aunty went to go get it. You know,” I grab the opportunity to teach this little one, “You shouldn’t have glass bottles in the ocean.”
She takes one look at me and shrugs, “Some people do.”
Mother Theresa once said, "I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there."
Going against something seems to be a gross depletion of energy. I say seems because I continue to do it; if I knew or believed this, then I would stop. Right? Still learning.
I look up, Makalohi is still swimming, still searching. Hello Kitty couture has dismissed me for the moment since she stated the obvious of which I could not deny. That is what some people do, I answer her, silently in my head.
Going against something is exerting all of your effort to go in the opposite direction of the current’s energy. It is going out when the little voice tells you "no." It is taking a job that you hate for the money, instead of letting the ripples of your passion turn into a thunderous stream. It is floundering still by the dead weight of your attachments, allowing victimhood to wash you in to stagnate waters. It is expecting someone else to change based upon your, well, expectations. It is anything that is not moving with the present current of life.
I turn, to the little one still gazing out to the ocean with me, “Can you imagine what would happen to a turtle who comes across that bottle and tries to bite it?”
She scrunches her face, “Not good.”
“No, not for monk seal either,” I say, but I do not push; she’s right that some people do have a bottle in the ocean. I can’t stop them. It’s enough for me to reroute my own mind to not pollute the ocean in my cranium.
Of course, I am still responsible; I still have my part to play, yet I ask you: Have you made changes in your life because someone scolded you, or because you saw something a different way?
“When you once see something as false which you have accepted as true, as natural, as human, then you can never go back to it.” ― Jiddu Krishnamurti
“What if she doesn’t find it?” Hello Kitty asks me.
“I don’t know,” I say and mean it. Makalohi has been swimming awhile. Every so often, I point her six inches left or north from where the bottle was last seen, but it has been sometime now and nothing has surfaced.
When our eyes see something in a new way, say a pattern or a problem is illuminated, the steps for liberation are not always easily discerned. In other words, we don’t always get the immediate prize at the bottom of our Cracker Jack decision. In Ann Randolph’s writing class, we write “What’s Next, What’s Next, What’s Next” until our mind releases a new thought to be put on the page. The stare of a blank piece of paper – infinite potential – debilitates the ability to create sometimes, and in that vast opportunity, in our fear of failure, we do absolutely nothing. Whereas if we simply write, “What’s next,” we are still writing, our synapses are still firing; we are placing one foot in front of the other, and the journey of a thousand thoughts has begun, no matter how bold or how classy, no matter with assonance or alliteration, it has begun.
My Dad and I were talking once about a mutual friend that was in a very large rut of his life. My Dad, exasperated said, “I told him, make one small change a day. One! Eat at a new restaurant. Paint your room. Move your furniture, something, each day that is how change happens.”
I know some of the greatest gifts of my life have come from places and spaces I could have never dreamed, but simply by falling, sliding, and crawling forward I was in the right time zone for the grace to rain (even if I cursed it’s wetness, it still fell, and nourished me).
Everything I have heard or read about creating the life you desire begins with the clarity of your thought, turns into the commitment to your intention, and the release of the how.
A few years ago I was chatting with Jane Bell, mystic of all things Egypt, and quite an abundant, powerful woman. We were talking about getting some of the basic details of my new life on Kaua`i in order, standing outside the Lani Kai, waist deep in the ocean. She turned to me and shouted over the waves, something I will never forget, “I have watched people, time after time sabotage their life because they thought they had to know How. HOW,” she emphasized, “is the domain of the divine.”
Makalohi begins her empty-handed breast-stroke back to shore; Hello Kitty, disappointed, turns back to her peers to play, and I simply stand with the waves of my memory lapping at my feet. There was nothing I could say to either of these two ladies about what didn’t get rectified; many years from now a tourist on Waikiki would pick up a piece of green sea glass in joy and never know the difference.
I don’t know how that bottle disappeared. I don’t know why people change. I don’t know what the grand evolution of our consciousness will be. I am rehabituating myself to live a life based on how many steps forward I take in the present, rather than frozen in fear of the past; on learning what I am capable of saving, rather than blaming myself-the-martyr for every pollution I see; on how many moments of loving compassion I cultivate, rather than slips into the ease of judgment;. I am holding myself to a standard of constant growth, which will include constant failure, and granting my-self compassionate independence from those that do not see things the same.
originally posted here
“Freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something- and it is only such love that can know freedom.”
“I don’t know how to let go of that,” she said moments before her cervicals were readjusted, so palpable was her slip that the moment froze and echoed off the walls. Many of us, do not know who we are without being defined by the pain of our previous stories.
Several years ago, I jammed my right ankle on a lava rock, resulting in several years of compensation. Years of limited motion, or days of paying the price after a good hike, limping in pain as swelling from an overworked subtalar joint and tarsals subsided, easing back into walking upright.
My foot jam occurred on my first summer in Kaua’i, on my birthday, with a slice of birthday cake in hand. A juxtaposition of emotions, no?
Our bones carry our emotional stories: “As a carpenter, I have to lift heavy machinery;” “As a Mom, my lower back aches from carrying the baby;” “Oh, my hands have never worked right since…”
Our bones can also be road mapped to the store house of emotions: our organs. Inflammations and uneasiness in our body can be created in a multitude of ways; one of which is how we live our bodies; another is how we live in our minds.
Recently, standing up to my ankles in water and mud in a taro patch, I ruminated on this less than perfect ankle of mine. What would it take, I thought, to have this ankle be whole again: surgery? more work? what?
Later on that day, I injured my foot. The ball joints of the big toe were jammed backwards. It hurt. A lot. I could no longer place any weight on the foot. The pain was not a throbbing or inflammatory; it was a searing snap to attention. The type of pain that the rest of the day’s details fall away and I have nothing to notice but the present moment.
Between myself and a few other hands the joint was reset; the tendons coaxed back to their proper standing, and four days later I was standing in the dry sands of Kona working again, fully standing.
The ankle had full range of motion. The new injury was rectified and so was my elder wound. Why?
I have heard that many of us define ourselves in what we can and cannot do: great gardener, not a woodworker. Great with words, cannot play music. Can go to yoga, not sure on public speaking. I can’t move my neck, my shoulder, my back…a few years ago (fill in life event) and on the story goes. The event happens once. The retelling repatterns muscle memory, a constant instruction to the body self to hold the pattern of pain. Is it that simple?
Yes and no.
Are there severe physical traumas, of course. Am I talking about those, probably not.
Am I talking about assumptions and the conditioning of muscle memory that allows us to taut that we cannot return to a state of fullness and claim ourselves whole and not broken? Yes.
Why would we do that?
if you move carefully
through the forest
like the ones
in the old stories
who could cross
a shimmering bed of dry leaves
without a sound,
to a place
whose only task
is to trouble you
but frightening requests
conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.
Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,
to stop what you
while you do it,
that can make
that have patiently
waited for you
that have no right
to go away.
- David Whyte
My ankle, you ask? It reset. It moves in circles and straight lines. It carries my weight wholly forward, and I intend to keep it that way.
Click here for a great article by David Whyte
*posted originally here
“Sustaining doubt is harder work than sliding into certainty.”
- Daniel Kahneman
Invested and enrolled in a business class to break into our personal brand – I have heard a lot of ideas recently. Great ideas. Powerful ideas. And every idea is connected to a person, who stands on the cusp of their own greatness, scared.
Really, everyone. It doesn’t matter if they are already successful in: relationships, finances, lifestyles, whatever you want to name, everyone of them is carrying a fear of failing and a childhood load of doubt.
How about you? What cliff of uncertainty have you jumped off recently? And why or why not?
No, it doesn’t have to be starting a business it could be just starting a conversation with someone that you are avoiding, or a habit you aren’t up for breaking. What happened to us that leaves us scared of our own shadow? How does this exactly happen?
It’s too easy and unfair to blame it on our parents. They are imperfect beings that created a third party; there is bound to be some great gifts and some important places for growth. So let’s, in this moment, take responsibility and not jump to blame, but more importantly look at what social structures are in place that we more comfortable with being inadequate than being grand.
Why do we scoff at others’ success rather than using it for fuel for our own?
Why do we shun those strong enough to break our patterns of comfort?
Why are we so afraid to make the next leap into our own greatness?
It is fear of failure. Failing our selves, our families, our comfortable knowing. There is nothing wrong with comfort so long as it doesn’t require a withering of our greatness.
What can we do? Commit to our own success at all costs. My father likes to say, “Everything but death is negotiable.” And pop star Nicki Minaj says, “Everybody dies but not everybody lives.” So while we are here, let’s be certain there is a grand reason for it and let go of the doubt that we are not capable. How? One step at a time. One honest conversation at a time. One newly learned edge of the moment. We cannot know what the true outcome will be unless we are willing to see it through.
Worth doing? I think so.
“Be empty of worrying.
Think of who created thought!
Why do you stay in prison
When the door is so wide open?”
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