Oahu is majestic from the air. Sounds of Hawaiians from earlier days travel through my ears fishing, foraging, swimming, surfing and enjoying life together. The lush green landscape still over powers the expansion of 21st century homes and buildings.
I come from a quaint town in Oregon. Even when I travel small, cozy, creative villages is what I seek. There’s a ringing that permeates my heart and soul amidst these types of places. Funny how we can not live somewhere for years and the memories of family, community, and space created in childhood comes flowing right back. I’ve been resting on this feeling a lot lately.
Gretchen and I came to Hawaii in search of sun and warmth. The winter in Oregon has felt longer and rainier than years past. It SNOWED, in April, two days before we hopped the airplane full of tropical promises.
Rest and Relaxation, R & R, is what we thought would replenish our soaking wet statures. We arrived in Honolulu with more rain in the forecast but hey it was warm so we didn’t care!
My good friend Rach has been living in Hawaii for 9 years and constantly reminding me that as soon as I got there to visit, “We are hiking Koko Head!” Every year a picture of her hiking without me would come through on the phone with whispers of… Remember, you’re going to be here.
“Ok!” I always replied, “Let’s do it!” I didn’t know when and I didn’t know how but I always knew that I wanted to… Remember. And then the years weaved in and out with Oahu never making it to the top of my travel bucket list.
Funny how reminders, intentions, and actual life start to converge together.
2018 finally said, ‘Now’s the time La!’…
Four hours fresh off the plane we met up with Rachie for first night’s din. As laughs filled the warm open aired restaurant named Goofy’s, Gretchen pulled up Instagram to post the iconic first day “We made it to Hawaii” picture. By chance the photo at the top of her feed was our buddy Ron at a Luau just down the street in Waikiki!
“La! Ron is here!” she said holding out the phone so I could see.
“What!?” with a spark of excitement lighting in my belly, “That’s. So. Coooooool!”
PAY ATTENTION & LISTEN
A convergence is when unplanned events, people, places, situations, etc. unknowingly converge together at the same moment in time.
-Bumping into an old high school teacher enjoying the sunset at the exact same spot you stopped at on a whim and being able to share your gratitude with him.
-A house coming up for sale with a very unique situation and background that just happens to perfectly match up to your very specific set of unique situation’s and background’s too.
-Running into a lost love at the grocery store, in coffee shops, at random places and times all over town when all the while you’d been trying to subconsciously avoid her and “not listen to life” but ultimately Listening and allowing Love in.
-Seeing a number, hearing a song, being in a place, and getting a feeling of remembrance or gratitude all at the exact same time.
No plans. No meetings. No intentions to find anything.
Just Coincidences, Surprises, and my favorite term for all of it, Adventure.
One might even be so bold to call it The FLOW of Life and as such Active Participation or Interaction with said flow is a completely conscious choice of action. That part is up to you.
30 minutes later Ron was sitting at our dinner table and us kids from Oregon were having a makeshift PNW Reunion in the 808.
Donning a freshly starched classic Hawaiian button up, a warm coconut skinned tan, and a pink tourist hat straight out the ABC Store Ron had arrived! And we all were the better for it. He had just happened to fly in from Maui earlier the same day. This was his first trip, first vacation, first airplane ride, and first time out of Oregon. EVER.
The palpable enthusiasm for life was oozing out of him and he spent every minute after introductions telling us about a week’s worth of adventures on Maui jammed into three days: Paia, The Road to Hana, Waterfalls, Lava Fields, Jumping in the Ocean, Touring the entire Island and Hiking deep into the volcanic cavern of the great Haleakalã.
If you ever get a chance to sit at a table with Ron to hear him recollect his adventures I would highly recommend it. He is one of the best off the cuff, funny, magnetic story tellers I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to.
“I’m getting a rental car in the morning. You guys want to tour the island!?” Ron asked.
I looked at G, visions of my toes in the sand changed into hiking boots and the mai tai in her hand morphed into double fisting water bottles…
With no more than a non-verbal interaction of understanding through our eyes, we answered in sync, at the same time, “YES!”
On Sunday the four of us gathered together to hike the iconic Koko head. The 1052 steps, straight up, of railroad ties that Rach had been reminding me to remember.
I started with my usual schpeal to pre-empt the hiking crew, “Guys, hiking is tough for me. So if I go slow, please don’t wait for me. Sometimes it’s just easier to go it alone. I’ll meet you guys at the top.”
Everyone nodded. It was clear we all had different speeds and all sorts of different energies either pulling us up or dragging us down. I’ve been trying to figure out how to manipulate, operate, or just simply utilize these energies all of my life.
Hiking drags me down with the simultaneous feeling of rolling a 1,000 pound rock straight up a hill. The best way I’ve learned how to deal with the situation, because I really do enjoy being outdoors, in the scenery, and with friends, is to get real quiet, listen to the feeling (whatever it may be at the moment: heaviness, dragging, pulling, pushing…) acknowledge it for what it is without making assumptions, and then respond accordingly by taking another step forward.
But it’s not always easy. Sometimes there’s a few angry conversations inbetween with the “self” asking Why am I doing this? This is stupid… On and on. And at this point, I at least recognize the chatter and instead of trying to shut it up, push it to the side, or be strong and push through, I LISTEN.
Listening in a way without any intention of what I’m going to do next, how I might respond, or even react. I just listen without taking it on even because while the voice says, This sucks, I know that it doesn’t. It just seems that way in the moment. All while the angry conversations continue I’m still stepping. One more step forward. Just this step. Just one. And then the next one.
Anyone else got any tools or ideas of how to work witht this!?
Ultimately at some point the voice changes, the conversation shifts. Although I’ve stopped trying to change it. It’s almost like hiking forces me, very uncomfortably, to have a very high level of empathy, with myself. Try that on for size. I suppose it’s also kind of like pushing the edge of courage/vulnerability… ?
“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
Why settle on one hike when you can have two!? Shortly after Koko Head and lunch at Kona Brewing we decided to head on over to the lush, green, tropical Manoa Falls in a neighborhood right by Rachel’s house!
Honestly, two hikes in one day, with great friends and wonderful scenery was amazing, but I was also toast by the end of it. Resting in the gratitude for the day, we had all made it to the top, together, on different timelines, but together, was enough for me.
Our third day was filled with Pearl Harbor! Honor. Respect. Somber. Emotional. Gratitude. ‘Nuff Said.
And finally the grand finale Strawberry Mango Lemonade which is not even a lemonade at all, but seemed like a fun metaphor of turning the “lemons” of our dull expectations of R & R into the most delicious adventure filled convergence inspiring week on Oahu.
Side Note: Shortly after we left Hawaii torrential rains poured on Oahu and Kauai. With reports of more than 28″ in 24 hours on Hanalei Bay. Currently cutting off the community from the rest of the Kauai Island with rescue efforts for more than 340 people, animals and families still occurring now!
If you feel inclined to donate to the people, homes, businesses and animals affected by this act of nature please go here:
Hanalei, Kauai 2018 Flooding GoFundMe
For real live updates of current rescue efforst check out: