It was a challenge to leave Hawaii and not know when I would return, if I would return. It is this challenge that has led me to procrastinate writing this last post in the Hawaii narrative. There will be more about Hawaii, but this post is significant in that it wraps up a journey that I was called to take for many reasons. This journey has helped shape not only who am I am as a yoga teacher, but who I am in my whole life.
This summer I met three beautiful spirits and sisters in yoga. These ladies taught me about life, love, and finding an inner strength that is always inside us, waiting for discovery. They came from different geographic regions, different backgrounds, and were at very different stages of life. These students came together with three teachers and myself to create a dynamic and deeply nourishing environment in which to explore, learn, and create. There is a sweetness to the development of friendships in an immersion setting. You learn people’s habits and routines quickly. You get to know them on a level that might take years in a normal friendship. I am forever impacted by my friendships I have made on the Big Island.
Much of this summers trip was like my time on the bench in front of the Hilo airport. It was an experience where I allowed things to happen and moved with the flow of the people and environment around me. We experienced highs and lows in everything from the weather to our energy levels. Life is full of highs and lows and the belief that the highs feel higher after experiencing a low is a belief that I subscribe to. If we only lived in highs we would never understand just how amazing a hug from a friend, or smile from a stranger can feel. Small things like that would seem mundane and commonplace. We were threatened by a hurricane which turned into a tropical storm, which turned into a few days of high tide and a solid day of rain. That weather event created a path for us to follow that was different than the planned path, but much more in tune with what the group needed.
My concern over my role as a teacher and mentor was eased by the fact that I am a teacher at the core of my being. I thrive when I can assist people in the discovery of new knowledge. I had the honor of helping the students find their voice to teach and when they delivered their final presentations I was humbled and proud of their commitment to not only teach yoga but to create an environment for their students to have an experience. Witnessing personal and professional growth in others is a valuable exercise in recognizing that humans are meant to learn and explore their world.
Now to the hard part, saying goodbye. It is not an easy thing to say goodbye. The Hawaiian Sanctuary is my home that I carry with me, and the people there will always have space in my heart. Right now, today, I can’t say for sure if I will return. A piece of me will always reside in Hawaii. Many adventures lay before me and my path is cleared and ready for diverse experiences. If that path includes a return to the magnetic Big Island, I will embrace and enjoy every second of that journey. Life has a funny way of placing exactly what you need within your reach and I am filled with gratitude to have had the chance to experience the adventure and learning that my time in Hawaii has provided.
Thich Nhat Hanh says: “We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice 10 years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.” If you are working toward a goal and a dream, don’t forget to be alive in your present moment. Our lives can pass us by while we wait for the next job, the new car, the next adventure. Make the choice to live today as the next adventure.