Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Finding waves, trails, and epic fun on the Big Island

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Finding Balance

Suspended at the edge of time, was how I felt driving down the highway just south of the Kona airport. I just ended a week working in the field, and just started week number two. Two weeks away from normal reality in a bubble that is often filled with madness! It was 9:30pm on new years eve and I have just dropped a student off at the airport. I had waited to eat dinner, knowing I would be in Kona and was looking forward to splurging on something after a week of quinoa and lentils. God damn, everything was closed: grocery stores, restaurants, even last resort taco bell. Driving through the glowing night tired, burned out, bummed out, I was forced to scavenge at a convenience store. I walk out dejected with an egg sandwich and a feeling of self pity. New Years Eve and I'm alone and working on top of that. My co- workers who I just worked the week with were manic and looking forward to the night, while I stayed behind for another week which added to the feelings of self pity. I began the drive back to Waiohinu egg sandwich in hand, when I felt a warm breeze blow in my mind. About a year earlier I participated in a Vision Fast and it was a profound experience for me. I recently saw the facilitators of the fast Angelo and Petra. They asked me if I have done anything to mark the year by returning to that sacred contemplative frame of mind. I had not had the chance since after I saw them I went back to Virginia to visit then came back and jumped back into work. Driving through the night my thoughts began to collide like diesel and dust on some foreign street.

I found myself sitting at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, the city of refuge. The moon massaged me and I felt an incredible calm peaceful warmth wash over me. In ancient times the site was a safe haven for anyone safely reaching the grounds: Criminals sentenced to death, the ill, defeated warriors... Once the petitioner arrived the priest would be obligated to offer them sanctuary and absolution, under pain of his own death should he refuse to do so. Often the petitioner would be freed within hours to resume a normal life. These people were given a second chance for life itself. The giant wood carved totems stood over and stared back at me with stone faces, seemingly asking the question "What are you doing here." I sat for hours running my fingers and feet through the sand, putting things into perspective, soaking in the surroundings which were painted in the moonlight adding a surreal ambiance. The salty air fumigated with blooming plumerias, and silhouettes of dancing coconut palms lightly clapping in the mellow breeze. The totems which at first seemed cold and unwelcoming seemingly opened their arms and became friendly.

I began to think how lucky I was to be sitting under a Blue Moon at the start of a new year and a new decade. It is good to every once in a while have a check in with yourself. I felt surrounded by a presence, like something divine was looking from the past, present and future. At midnight I stripped down and waded out into a tide pool, bowed in each direction to give thanks and dove in. I have never felt so renewed and cleansed, taking a swim in the sea of contemplation. Sometimes when your alone is when you feel the strongest connection to people. Its hard to find the right balance of helping others but not forgetting about yourself. I have been at both extremes before. Once thinking only of running, surfing, and exploring and on the other end working with others only able to focus on their problems and not taking time for myself. I'm beginning to find the balance but still looking. My thoughts began to slowly fade out into the darkness like the distant sound of fireworks. It was great to start the new year with feelings of manic bliss and mana flowing through my veins.

The second week of work has been great, I have been able to get long runs in the morning. Exploring a part of the island I am not that familiar with. Running through rolling cow pastures shadow dancing in the sunrise along with the winds of nostalgia. There are some major climbs, steep gravel roads climbing 2,000 plus feet. One such road is marked Whaling's Hideaway and climbs up up up into the lush hillside. I am greeted each morning with an in your face climb leading up to eucalyptus and bamboo groves. At the top the gravel road continues up to the ridge where there are sweeping views of the pacific morning sun. The words: may love rise in your east facing heart comes into my mind and I shout it out to the birds as I run up the cattle fence with feelings of joy. Sometimes the only thing to do is pinch myself and laugh.