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.
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.
And we did show up to do yoga….
I just don’t think we were supposed to do it inside the Thurston Lava tube, 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.
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:
- 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.