How Does it Feel to Live in the Present Moment? - A True Story
Hawaiian Odyssey Begins
The vast blue of the Pacific stretched for hours below us as we flew to the islands in its middle. Finally we caught sight of them, tiny patches of green showing between the clouds.
Kati and I had experienced that the 'security' of knowing what lies ahead and striving to compete, accomplish, achieve and attain goals left us with very little joy. More often the socially normal lifestyle felt frustrating. Circumstances helped us choose again to release what was hindering us to be in the movement of natural life.
When the frightening thoughts of letting go had calmed, we trusted the guiding steps of intuition and became more comfortable with knowing little of what lay 'ahead.'
Against the current of prevailing acceptability, we also uprooted and brought along our teen-aged son, Marc. He had an inner struggle with leaving his familiar surroundings and jumping into unknown territory without any security line.
Note from the Unseen
Shortly before leaving California, we parked our large motor-home off the road outside the mountain town of Ojai and slept overnight with Marc's turmoil still in the air. The motor-home we lived in, and the car parked behind, would be relinquished along with other assets to reduce debt and start over with a clean slate. In the morning, as we approached the car, Marc found an anonymous note on the gravel. The even hand-writing on flowery notepaper read,
Just trust and everything will be fine. I am here for you.
It had been written to another Mark, yet spoke directly to Marc in his current state of mind. The paper was smudged and dimpled by gravel and the note had no signature. Later we could look back and see it as a foretelling.
The plane landed on Kauai, dubbed the garden isle. We carried with us all that remained of our lives in California which included a tent, sleeping bags and five hundred dollars each. Our feeling was to live on the islands, but we had no prospects, no plan and no contacts there.
To make it more comfortable we rented a car for a couple of days to explore the island and scout out a place to camp. One thing we learned fast was to not leave the present moment. Otherwise the drop into thoughts of the future came with bottomless fears.
Becoming Available for Nature
We also learned that each campground was closed on a different day of the week for maintenance, so bought used bicycles to accommodate the need to move from one campsite to the next.
The purchase of the bicycles took more than half our money and we stretched our eating habits to two meals a day. Yet in all the unfamiliarity of the new, we noticed each day a growing aliveness within ourselves. Even our son no longer brought out his Game-boy, for the simplicity and nature force all around us.
A friendly camper showed us how to split off the husk of a coconut with an axe. Not bad! We could do that and it felt empowering to live on food that nature abundantly provided free of charge.
The next day the rains came. Unusual for this time of year, people said. Every day it rained. And we had to pack up every few days and bicycle to another campground, in the rain. We were soaked to the skin, our gear was soggy and still it rained. Something wasn't right, and we looked inside for an answer.
For more than a week the tropical rainclouds released their burden on us, every day. With our money running low we decided to fly to the Big Island of Hawai’i. The friendly camper gave us a ride in the back of his pick-up to the airport.
Let God Within into the Driver's Seat
Stepping from the plane in Kona was like stepping into another world from Kauai. The sun was shining, the air was moved by a warm breeze. It was dry! Locals told us about a campground near the airport, and that is where we headed for our first evening. We were delighted to sleep on black lava beds under stars that spoke to us as they sparkled. The involuntary cleansing and grounding on the garden isle had prepared us to tap into the magic of the island of Hawaii.
We learned about a free campground thirty miles north called Spencer Park and saddled up the next morning for the ride. We had jettisoned all extras on Kauai and now carried only large backpacks, weighing over forty pounds each. It was hot and dry here, and our water bottles were soon empty. We counted on finding water on the way, expecting in a spoiled manner there would be a gas station on the main road up the coast.
But no, the road was mostly cut through lava fields and barren of buildings. With our heavy loads, how would we make it in this heat?
Before we had time to lose ourselves in worried thoughts of dehydration, a warning sign caught our attention. The road was closed to car traffic due to the Ironman Triathlon, just for the day. Soon we would realize the blessing of the event.
After another mile of biking in the burning sun we encountered a steady stream of lean cyclists pedaling south as we pedaled north. Athletes shouted comments about our heavy loads. To Marc, one said, “You’re a bad dude, man!” and gave him a “thumbs up.”
Stands were set up along the highway to hydrate the athletes headed south. When they saw us, they said, "Have a water!" and "Have a Gatorade!" And so we made our way to Spencer Park. Later, when my pen of poetry began flowing, I wrote the story in rhyme:
We were attracted by a feeling to the islands in the sea,
and knew that for a time it was our place to be.
We went first to Kauai, the old and Garden Isle,
rainforests wet and green go on for mile and mile.
We had our packs and tents but not so many bucks.
A week of camp in rain and we were three wet ducks.
With backpacks and our bicycles we flew from sand to sand,
to the Big Island of Hawai’i, known as the healing land.
All this was new experience for Kati, Marc and I,
and we enjoyed the heat of the October island sky.
We pedaled our bikes north, all belongings on our backs,
with no water carried on us, not aware of all the facts.
We thought there would be stations along the desert way,
on the thirty mile stretch to camp at Spencer Bay.
The Kona heat was awesome as was the weight we carried,
and it seemed that in the desert our bodies would be buried.
There were no stations here, no place to quench our thirst,
we saw the wisdom now of finding it out first.
But as fate would have it, on the coastal highway,
the annual triathlon was pedaling south, our way.
For along the desert highway people stood with Gatorade
to support the super athletes, and that is how we made
the trek of thirty miles for as we passed the stands,
supporters put the Gatorade into our grateful hands.
After three years on the islands, when Kati and I were leaving Hawaii, Marc needed a notary public. I went with him and the notary would not accept payment. In gratitude for her kindness, I gave her a copy of my booklet of poetry from the islands, titled 'Another View.'
A week later, there was a letter in our mailbox from the notary. She wrote that the story of the Ironman Triathlon was especially meaningful to her. She was the manager of supplies that year, and was responsible for keeping the stands stocked with Gatorade!