Friday, November 14, 2008
Living in both Texas and Hawaii, I have the best of both worlds. In Texas I'm surrounded by a large family, lots of friends, and I'm very grounded in the business world. In Hawaii I get a more spiritual perspective on life and get to escape the rat race for a little bit. I get to study with spiritual teachers, like Kahunas who are not affected by the ups and downs of the stock market. And they don't place one's self-worth on financial success. In Hawaii, it's much easier to live in the moment and experience peace in your heart. There are so many places to commune with nature--beaches, rain forests, mountains. Endless summer and eternal sunshine. Here there are a lot of surfers. Their bliss is catching the next big wave. Even though I have yet to learn to surf, I am gaining a lot just by watching how they live. They are showing me that even though life, like the turbulent ocean, can toss you around and send you plunging, the surfers just shake their mops of wet hair like a dog, smile big, and yell something like "Whoa, total wipe out!" Then they get right back on their surf boards and courageously face what life offers them next. Sometimes they catch the wave's peak and ride it smooth, feeling at one with the Universe. In the surfer's mind getting wiped out is just part of living. It's okay to make mistakes. Wiping out doesn't mean it's the end of the world. You can always catch the next big wave and next thing you know, you're riding high again. Kowabunga!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Once I got it in my heart it was time to move, my radar was scanning the map for what places felt like they were pulling at me. Immediately cities across the U.S. began to shine on the map--Austin, TX, Ashville, NC, Phoenix, AZ, and ... Hawaii! I couldn't imagine moving that far away from Texas. No way. Austin, maybe, but never Hawaii. I did a lot of meditation seeking answers. I visualized living in each place and felt what that area of the U.S. might be like. I even considered Costa Rica for brief moment, then decided better to stay where I'm a citizen and know the language.
I listed my values--surrounded by nature, warm weather most of the year, lots of sunshine, spiritual community, plenty of activities that involve the outdoors, exotic locale, friends nearby, dolphins, bikini girls, etc. Then I went on a retreat in Hawaii and just fell in love with the energy of the islands. I had already been to Kaui twice, Maui three times, and the Big Island twice. The Hawaiian islands matched my values and more. A good buddy of mine and his girlfriend were already living on the Big Island and encouraging me to move here. While retreating on the Big Island I meditated some more just to be sure I was making the right decision. For me this was such a monumental decision, because it was my first move away from my family: parents, sister, grandparents, and cousins, most of whom live in Texas.
As I meditated, I got a strong inner feeling, a deep knowing, that this would be a good move for me. On a beach staring at the ocean, listening to the surf crash against the rocks, I made the decision. "I'm moving to Maui." Even though I was on the Big Island at the time, Maui was calling me very strongly. The rest was me overcoming all the fears and obstacles that wanted to keep me in Dallas, my comfort zone. I had a fifteen-year video business and several established clients I was leaving behind. My closest friends and clients all pulled at my heart strings to stay. You just don't realize how much you're loved until you tell everyone you're uprooting.
Leaving Dallas was much harder than I thought. I was raised a Texan since the age of two and thirty-six years later I was leaving behind my cowboy boots for flipflops and hula girls, oh yeah, and bikini girls, too. But more than just heading off to some kind of tropical paradise, this was a spiritual decision for me. I was on a quest of self-discovery and knew that staying for other people was not allowing me to grow. As I writer I felt it would be good for me to expand my horizons. So I sold everything, said many tearful goodbyes, and flew West to seven tiny dots on the Pacific Ocean.
I'm often asked, when following one's bliss, how does one know they are making the best decision? You meditate until your thoughts are clear and your inner voices have stopped chattering, and then you feel into your heart as you ask very specific questions. Also helps to get away from the noise of the city and commune with nature. When the true answer comes your heart fills with joy and the idea of doing this next new thing motivates you to hop out of bed in the morning. Following one's bliss is an ongoing exploration. It's not a destination to reach, but an attitude of just doing what makes you happy.
We passed lots of waterfalls along the way.
In Hana there's a secret path that leads to Red Sand Beach. The path cuts through a Japanese cemetery. These graves are on the side of a cliff and I noticed a couple of tombstones had tumbled into the ocean. My imagination was running wild, coming up with short story ideas about Japanese ghosts haunting fishing boats who anchored near these cliffs.
Next went to the Venus Pool. It's an oasis that has still water that's perfect for swimming. Because the water is deep, people jump off the cliffs. It's by far the most beautiful place I've found so far on Maui. You can find out how to get there in the book Maui Revealed. I also discovered a couple of caves back in the trees to the right of the next photo. I climbed into one of the caves by myself. At the back was an altar where someone had burned candles and performed some kind of ritual. On the ground there were piles of palm seeds that looked like shrunken heads. Freaked me out, I must admit. That's what I get for putting that kind of voodoo stuff in my books.
Here's a banyan tree. I can't remember where we saw this, but there are several around the island. The largest and most famous you'll find in downtown Lahaina.