“What did you learn in Hawaii!?”
“How was your trip?”
“What was it like with your teachers?”
hmm… how to use a limited supply of words to convey the infinite rainbow of feeling is ever the adventure. Let’s explore.
I am now back at my house. I am back with my husband and kiddos. I am back with my kitchen and familiar cooking supplies. I am back with my co-teacher and our teacher trainee group. I am back with my office and my dear clients. I am back with carpool and grocery shopping.
And it doesn’t feel that different from Hawaii.
Sure, it is cooler here than it was on Maui. It is louder in my house here than it was in my Air BnB. It is less sweet in the air here than it was in the botanical gardens that I visited.
But the stillness of the moment is in both places. The joy of life is in both places. The heartbreak of life is in both places. And the learning and watching is in both places.
It is in all places.
This morning, I picked up our dear neighbor’s son for carpool. My 5 year old, Ruthie, was sitting beside the open window inches away from my dear neighbor friend. As I began to say goodbye and to haul off our combined crew to school, Ruthie emerged from her quiet observing of our conversation to ask neighbor friend,
“May I show you something?”
This neighbor friend is wise beyond the task at hand. She does not rush. She does not rush others. She is curious. She is open. She is present.
‘Yes, I would love that,” she replied to Ruthie.
“Hold on just a minute, I have to find it…” said Ruthie as she dug into a bottomless zipper pouch of her backpack. I was a tad irritated with this delay. A tad curious. And a tad in awe of neighbor friend’s stunning patience.
Ru shuffled, pushing chapstick and pencils and wads of paper aside, ‘”It’s in here somewhere…” she murmured. “There!” she softly exclaimed. And she pulled out a toe sized, pink plastic teddy bear charm with a tiny blue rhinestone in the belly and a two inch broken beaded lanyard attached. She handed it to dear neighbor friend in silence.
“Oh,” said neighbor friend, “That is lovely, Ruthie.”
“I got it from the Woo-Hoo Wagon at school,” Ruthie said with her signature gentle demeanor yet proud and secure delivery. Then her face dropped, “But it broke already – so I can’t put it on my backpack.”
In my mind ran the rough edged voice, “Man, that sucks. Guess we’ll trash that.” Luckily I’ve learned to stay quiet (a bit more often) when it isn’t my moment.
Meanwhile, neighbor friend tilted her head and looked at Ruthie as she held the charm lightly, “You know what, Ruthie… I think I can fix this today if you’d like. I can get out my tiny drill and put a new hole in it. Would you like that?”
Ruthie lit up. I mean lit up. The sun rose in her face and she shone upon the world.
It was glorious to behold this freeze frame of life.
My neighbor friend saw Ruthie, offered her own authentic kindness and connected across space with my dear girl.
And that, my friends, was Hawaii.
It was freeze frame after freeze frame of the glorious connections between humans.
Across time and space, I found that there was support and love available everywhere I was willing to open my eyes and ears to it. In a place where I knew no one, I found full acceptance. I found an ever expanding family of humans Being. I found community and deep connection in our shared hard and the inevitable joy that can sprout within the hard when you allow both the rain and sun to infuse it. I found the grace that emerges when we can honor one another exactly as we are without fear, pity or the desire to fix each other.
Watch and listen.
Watch and listen here.
Watch and listen there.
Watch and listen, Be, and evolve.
When our eyes are open and attuned to it, family abounds and love penetrates deeply through the shadows of fear. Or the shadows of need. Or the shadows of doubt.
My Ruthie heard through the silence a person who could see her very real 5 year old disappointment. And that person had the skilled hands of a craftsman and the open heart of a healer. May each of us embrace our own skilled hands and open heart. And may we share those gifts copiously in our own self-compassion and in service of others.
That, my dear friends, is what I found in Hawaii.
Take good care,