I've scribbled the alphabet for meaning since I can remember.
Park and Learn
I was stuck.
No, really stuck.
I had just thoughtfully hiked for three hours and left my hiking gals to finish the trail so that I could scoot home and get some much needed work done. I walked to the overflow lot at Kauai’s North Shore, Ke’e Beach to see that some star-struck, eager tourists had tripled parked me in to my spot.
I was pissed. I stomped down the road back to the lifeguards interrogating everyone in my path, “Eh, you driving a Black Jeep?”
“How about a Black Dodge?”
“You, sure?” I steamed and they cowered.
There is no cell service - if you were wondering - for miles.
I call, politely, to the lifeguards, “Hey guys, can you help me?”
“Eh. Some freakin’ tourist blocked me, can you help?’
“Ahhhhh, sis! Freakin’ tourists,” they immediately jump.
I explain my predicament to which one offers, “I’d slash their tires. Slash ‘em.”
I blink, “Then I’ll never leave.”
“Tow them?” I squeak. I didn’t want to inconvenience the unknown idiots. But why? Why did I feel bad? They didn’t think of their swinging fist hitting my nose.
The lifeguards made a bullhorn announcement to the tourists on the beach, who were unmoved and busy photographing the unaffected and sleeping monk seal. They explained sheepishly, that they didn't have cell service either, but that I should walk on down to the Gardens to ask for help.
"Good Luck," they called as I walk down the road to the closest facility with the hope of cell service.
After the lifeguards, I fully expected sympathy and not the gaping looks I received at Lumahuli Gardens.
“Have you had other people having the same problem?”
“No,” they stare.
Should I have continued on the trail?
No, I didn’t have the time. Now all I had was time. I close my eyes and drop into breathing. I can only feel heat from my indignation and give up. I see a happy post hike couple, walk toward their equally blocked in car. I watch their realization as their peripheral catches me, sitting and watching.
“Unbelievable!” she smiles.
“Yup,” I respond.
“Well, at least we have sandwiches and enough water."
I am not even close to being that positive. I watch them turn their mishap into a picnic and wonder why I cannot perform the same alchemy.
Twenty-two minutes later, the car that is blocking the snacking couple comes and they all leave. They promise to call the towing company again, after I repeat “Kapa’a” about eight times, for the towing company. I am completely reliant on the kindness of touring strangers.
I circle the cars that bind me. Each has a map on their passenger seat or dashboard. Definitely tourists.
I climb back into the car; my dog fast asleep with twitching paws remembering the rocky terrain. I am the only one fuming.
I slip back into meditative breathing. Should I catch a ride home? No. Wait.
Should I walk back down to the Gardens? No. Wait.
What am I waiting for? Silence.
My mind starts to wander to the repeated phrase I have been sharing with my friends, “I feel like a horse behind a racing gate. I am ready, to run, I just need someone to lift the gate,” I had mused the day before over early coffee with an enigmatic pal.
“Mmm mm,” she nodded.
Now, stuck in a hot, dry parking lot, I realize that yesterday I could have done anything I wanted : today, I was truly trapped.
Why, am I stuck?
I remember a lecture from Haleakala Len, “Whenever there is a problem you are always there.”
I drip into the reality that the only one stuck here is me. Everyone else is a on a trail or swimming in the ocean completely oblivious to anything being wrong. I try meditation again. I calm a bit.
What if I needed this moment to just stop, and know, that I am the one that needs to calm, to notice, to be aware, to listen?
I sigh; it sounds true.
I watch the movie of my mind: faux calm bleeds into confusion, to frustration, to desperation, to a more honest calm, that erupts into powerless anger, which peaks and drops into silence.
I am here. This is where I am. Accept it.
There are so many moments in life that we are in constant movement, and when we stop we can sense the flimsiness of our foundation. Most often, this terrifies us into movement: turn on the TV, pick a fight with your partner, go shopping, busy your Self.
The busier we are can sometimes be an indication of the less that we are doing; the less that we are being.
I am not much in equine knowledge, but this is what I imagine it feels like, when a wild one surrenders herself to domestic service. Somewhere in hour two, I broke. Not broke down, not crying or flailing, I just cracked open to surrender. This. is. where. I. am. now.
I walk slowly back to the beach park to get water for my hot dog and ask the general public, whomever I meet, if they drive any of the cars that I have now captured on my smart phone. I get sympathetic shrugs, adamant denials, and a few blank stares. It’s ok though. We have water, and we have time.
I clamber back in to the car and sit.
A sweet one tiptoes up to the car blocking my front and peers in each window. Afterwards she approaches me, “Hi. I am so sorry that this happened to you.”
I shrug and smile. And meant it now.
“I heard some of those idiotic girls, that were smoking, when you walked away, say they thought it was there car but they didn’t want to check.”
My heart drops. I had been relying on a story that this was happenstance, that a knowing participant would run to rectify the moment. But people are not always kind, I hear myself say, and you are still here no matter what or why.
“So,” the woman continues, “I thought I would check for a lighter or a cigarette, you know, proof, before I told you. But I don’t see anything, so maybe it’s not theirs.”
“You know, I am from Tahoe,” she continues, “so I know what it’s like to be around tourists all time. But, we’re tourists here too and I just wanted you to know not all tourists are this thoughtless, and I am really, really sorry this happened to you.”
I smile, genuinely, at her compassion.
“Do you want a ride into town?”
“No thanks, I’d just have to make it back.”
“Yeah, I figured that. But you know what,” her voice builds, “you know what, THIS is going to come back to you in kindness. I promise. It will. You’ll see.”
The genuine prayer of her words seep deep.
“Thank you, so much,” I smile.
“Yeah, you’re welcome. I’m so sorry.”
Another forty-five minutes pass, and I realize that there are actually four cars, not three that could make my leave possible. There are the obvious two front and behind me. But because there is empty space to my one side, there is a potential that a third sedan could give me a enough room, and this bright powder blue Mustang is staggered. The longer I sat, the more potential I found.
A newly married Indian couple approaches some time later and start the powder blue Mustang. The wife and I stare at each other through glass. I am not sure if she has sympathy or contempt. I am also unsure of much because I realize there may be movement. This may be over.
I start my car and through dedicated micro-turns I see this may be so, I may be free and a car pulls in to block my exit. I leap out, arms flailing, “No, please, no, I have been stuck for three and a half hours.”
The driver shakes her head, unclear, but clear of my adamancy and backs out of the spot. I run back to my car, and pull up and out, just as a new, young couple approaches the dark green Jeep that I had been staring at for hours.
I stop. I look. I don’t know what to say.
Exhausted, I don’t have any anger left. I wonder, what could I say in this moment that would matter? They look so happy, so elated. What could I say?
I roll the car window down, my voice cracks, “Excuse me.”
The girl in a short floral dress with a plastic plumeria behind her ear turns and looks at me, doe-eyed.
“Ah, you may want to watch how you park, so more people can, so people - ” I hear how soft my voice is and I am astonished. “You may want to watch so that everyone can leave, yeah?”
“Yez. Yesz. Ok,” she responds and clearly doesn’t speak English.
I take one more look at the dewy couple and leave.
Clean up, Aisle Nine.
I scrubbed the kitchen, the floors, and the counter tops today.
I made space.
You know Nature abhors a vacuum, right? That's what Aristotle said. Well, she also doesn't particularly like a hot mess either. There is no space for the new when it is populated with empty water bottles or tangerine rinds.
It doesn't matter if the clutter is to be recycled newspapers or your recycling story of past pains; if you don't make space, nothing new can enter.
So although my mind was preoccupied with business plans my hands were pruning with soapy water and unfinished dishes. If I can't clean up one thing, then I can clean up another.
You know what happened?
Quiet happened. A sense of order. A sense of accomplishment.
I padded across the bamboo floors and sought out a good friend: Artemisia. She is a powerhouse. As my favored plant lovers explain:
"Artemisia helps to relax the mind and the brain to surrender to the heart."
That is just it.
When you experience an overwhelm, you can almost guarantee that the loop of focus has been caught in the mind and it needs to drop down, to surrender, to the wisdom of the heart.
That's where the magic is.
That's where clean coffee mugs, ready for a friend and a fabulous connection are stored: The open, spacious readiness of the heart space.
I may just move on to the the living room, creating the potential for miracles and magazine articles.
"There is a way between voice and presence
where information flows.
In disciplined silence it opens.
With wandering talk it closes." - Rumi
Want to know more about eArtemisia for your own surrender? Kate is an ardent lover of the Wisdom of the Earth essential oils. Zip an email to Kate.
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