I have mentioned my mom Dottie in several of my articles. Dottie was a huge influence on me – she still is and always will be — but recently I experienced an unexpected visit with a different Mom, one who had always been part of me but that I had forgotten….Let me explain.
Fourteen years ago Steve and I went on a retreat to the Big Island of Hawaii. We stayed at an Eco-Retreat Center called Kalani Honua, meaning, The Harmony of Heaven and Earth in Hawaiian. It was a magical time and we went back once more a few years later to experience the same magic. The last time as we pulled away from the property we cried. It is the only time either of us could remember crying at the end of a vacation.
The experience of those magical days are etched clearly in our memory. We pulled our red Mustang convertible to the end of the Kalani driveway and waved our hands, as we walked to “The Point”- a secluded, yet accessible jut of land right across the Red Road at the entrance to Kalani. It overlooks a wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean. We waved goodbye, threw some kisses then climbed into the car and pulled onto the Red Road. And we cried – hard – as we headed towards the airport..
We talked about that departure many times over the last decade. We also talked about returning to Kalani at some point for an extended stay.
Fast forward to New Year’s Eve 2015.
After many years of “life” happenings, we decided to take the leap. In May of 2015, we applied for a Sabbatical at Kalani. We wanted a 5 week stay to recharge, rejuvenate, relax and get creative about our lives. We asked to come the last week of December to the first week of February. And we were accepted. Yes!!!
The past 12 years we spent New Year’s on Key West, another Island. It was hard to change that pattern as we knew the staff at the Guest House so well. We knew the other guest, the places to eat…….it was easy to relax immediately on arrival with so much familiarity.
But we both knew we needed something different. We needed to shake things up and to challenge ourselves to spark our creativity.
We knew it would be completely different as we would be unplugging from our life for 5 weeks and going to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where California is 2500 miles away and Japan is 4100 miles away. We would be 10 or more hours and 5 times zones away from home.
As the departure day from Cincinnati got closer, we got nervous. To uproot ourselves and move into somewhat unknown territory is not the easiest thing to do for two Earth Signs (a Capricorn and a Virgo). In spite of that, we felt there was a reason, something was pulling us to Hawaii and to Kalani or The Puna Coast specifically.
We arrived late to Kalani on a Tuesday night. It was dark when we got to our room. We were very tired from a long day of travel. Kalani is an eco-retreat, which tries hard to keep the footprint we are all making, as small as possible. It is earthy and rustic in its simple elegance and charm.
Being tired, we were not so receptive to its simple charm on the first night- it was more like, “What the ______ have we done?”
Our inner “princesses” where making an appearance. We realized the expectations which where in our heads where not meeting with reality in our arrival moment.
But even that first night we could hear beyond the coqui frog’s mating song, to the lullaby of the crashing waves on the nearby black cliffs. She was calling to me. She – the Ocean – my different mom!.
The next morning was spent in orientation to the Kalani property and a few other logistical things regarding our stay. The following day, we worked a full day in our first volunteer housekeeping shift. It wasn’t until about 4 pm Hawaii time that we got to walk out to The Point to see “Her” with our own eyes. As we entered the canopied sanctuary they call The Point, I spontaneously said out loud – “we’re back!” And just as spontaneously, I began to cry. Not just streaming tears but deep, full sobs as I felt I was back with someone dear who I had not seen in a long time and for whom I had great longing.
I was surprised at my own reaction at first but I went with it. I let the tears come and I let the ecstasy of our reunion flow through me in a series of inner waves. It was magic.
Two days later we made our way to the near-by black sand beach, Kehena. To get to this little gem, you have to climb down a steep rocky natural lava staircase which takes some effort and a certain degree of mindfulness. Once on the beach you are surrounded by the black cliffs, the lush deep green foliage and the coarse black sand. Steve and I laid down our towels. I perched on a nearby tree stump to do some writing – but, I was distracted. I wanted to get in the salty water – “Her”. I closed my journal and coerced Steve to go in with me.
We walked out to where the water came up to about mid thigh and then back in to sit in the shallow water to feel the waves wash over us. Instantly, I was a little kid again. Actually I was more a baby-child of about 2 or 3 years old – I was being held. The waves got a little rambunctious and knocked us over. It was rolling us around- back and forth. I was covered in black sand. I was overcome with spontaneous, uncontrollable deep laughter. It was the laughter of a child being lovingly moved around by its Mom. A slight tickle and caress. I let go. I rolled. I laughed. Again I let the ecstasy of this nurturing love move through me. Ahhhhh………..
This sense of being cared for by mother earth, in all Her forms but especially this salty embryonic fluid of the ocean, had erased any doubts I may have had about being here.
The love I felt from the sounds of her waves and her touch were more nurturing than anything I can possibly describe.
I am from the mid-west. There is no ocean. It’s not like I grew up with Her caressing me daily. What is it about Her that calls me, calms me and nurtures me? My good friend and teacher, Bobbie Corbean, used to say, “My spirit needs to get to the ocean. I need a shot of the ocean water and sun on my face”
Nature is our ultimate mother. She doesn’t subtract anything from the relationship I have with my Mom Dottie. As a matter of fact our relationship with nature adds to all of our personal human relations. We can go back into nature when we need to feel we are being held, nurtured and loved unconditionally.
I am now coming to realize that being in and with nature, in her many forms, is a necessity for me. She brings a sense of calmness to me. I feel like wounds I may not even be aware of, are being healed. Is there stuff in our DNA which we inherit from our ancestors that needs to be released by a personal connection to nature?
I still ponder these thoughts and my spontaneous crying and laughing as I came back to Her presence. Sitting with Her and in Her, in stillness and in silence, I feel love. I do. I feel love.
Steve and I can hear Her from our room at Kalani. Yet we find ourselves wanting to be closer to Her so we walk to The Point frequently. Many times we don’t speak. A few days ago, after sitting there for about 5 minutes, I started to cry again. My best friend Steve, pulled me to his shoulder. My control freak inner self, let myself be comforted by him and Her. I had a deep long healing cry. About what, I am not sure. Afterwards I felt better. There were no words.
I share this with you because I am surprised at what is happening here in Hawaii, at Kalani Honua— meaning where Heaven and Earth meet. I suggest that you plan an unexpected visit with your Mom— Mother Nature. She holds us when we are weary. She smiles when we are in ecstasy. She loves us unconditionally, always.
Wherever you are in the world, find a place to be with Her and get quiet. Imagine yourself being held and loved to the depths of your being—— and then know it to be true.