Sunrise at Kalani

We’ll start at the end of the journey: the last sunrise at the Point, where we would all practice qigong and then walk back to the Hale and practice together for the last time on this journey. The tears flowed at the end of this practice, it would be saying farewell for now to some old and some new friends.  But it would also be saying goodbye to this place, this very special place.

Kalani is on the eastern shore of the Big Island of Hawaii.  From the Point, the horses would be grazing in the grass, fruit trees and flowers lining the path on our way back to our temporary homes.  The first day, I remember thinking ‘oh I could never live here, this isn’t home’. By the last day, it was a tearful good bye. The road to Kalani, winds along lava rock shores, sometimes enveloped with trees and hanging vines. The lava field at Kaimū

It’s an interesting feeling to be on land that  that once was a town, or was once under water less than 30 years ago. It’s like you’re seeing something out of a sci-fi movie, but it’s your planet. It’s also the realization that it can all be gone in an instant, mother nature always wins.

There were moments of intensity. My body resisted practicing, my joints hurt, the mind would not commit at all. It was like I was detached from everything, and yet, showing up still. My teacher Arturo talked about this, when you go in with expectations and you show up and it’s not like it was before or fun or relaxing or whatever your adjective is for your expectation.  The point is to stay with it, it’s not always passion fruit and peace.Kīlauea

And we did show up to do yoga….

I just don’t think we were supposed to do it inside the Thurston Lava Hawaii2013 080tube, but I wasn’t alone in my ridiculousness.

We practiced together, ate together and went on shopping trips to the middle of lava fields together. Yes, we did. We laughed a lot, at our orientation we were warned of the wild pigs at Kalani. The destructive creatures would root up plants and destroy habitat, got the nickname of ‘delicious criminals’.  We found secret thermal pools and plunged into scary ocean currents at times, well, some of us (me) plunged right back out.  We shared food, and our thoughts. We discovered the surface was a false advertisement to riches of coral and sea life in tidal pools. And sometimes, ‘disappointment’ turned into beautiful experiences.

The last night, I went to the pool and saw one of the singing frogs in my path, perfectly still, frozen in fear. As I lay in the pool, looking up at the glory of the stars and the milky way, clearly visible in this land without lights, contemplating the vastness of the universe, and how we can’t all be just here.

Ganesha The first day, a beautiful retreat center, an open airy room, a symphony of frogs, insects and birds to sing me to sleep.

Expectancy, met with obstacles, internal and external. The body not willing, the mind, barely there. But who is on the altar but Ganesha….

By the last day my heart opened.

It would take a big push. It would take a big one.

Later on the path back from the pool, another frog, still. Not moving. Staring off. Got my attention, as would a few other things.

When I got back, I looked up frogs and their symbolic meanings:

  • Cleansing
  • Renewal, rebirth
  • Fertility, abundance
  • Transformation, metamorphosis
  • Life mysteries and ancient wisdom

There’s not a bone in my body that doesn’t know this to be true for my life right now.

The Journey

So I embarked on this journey called The Artist is You Mandala Experience a couple of weeks ago.  My friend Cathleene is teaching this.  I went into this as a non-artist, meaning my creative expression doesn’t normally come into this arena (meaning paint, drawing, etc).  I don’t want to sound too airy-fairy about what this experience has been or what it is.   What I can say is that we start with some seated guided meditation and then let things come out as they come out.    Cathleene really keeps us stayed tuned into ourselves, where and what we’re feeling and keeps us on a path that I would describe as “stepping into the void.”  The picture on the left is the piece that I finished last week.  This came from nothing.  I didn’t know where it was going, or coming, I just went with it and stayed.  What has emerged has shocked me.    The two animals, a jaguar and a dragon, were not a part of the original thought.  They came as a result of the evolution of the piece.  There were “mistakes” that were then realized as not mistakes but what was to be this piece. 

These two animals, in viewed as totems, are very powerful signs.  So in my research of discovering what they mean, I’ve found a lot of information.  The Jaguar represents Shamanism , Intuition, psychic abilities, integration of spiritual beliefs and morals, while the Dragon represents Primordial Power, overcoming obstacles, courage, strength, and grounding.  I feel like because this was not forced, this project was very much a moment to moment exercise, that these symbols emerged because they needed to tell me something.  This is a piece that is now hanging on my wall and I will be meditating with.  The messages that I have found from these websites are resonating with where I’m at this moment.  Which is touching the deep of the void and finding out what’s there.  This is why I’m in this class and what is being called forth at this moment. 

I’m so excited….