"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Thursday, July 12, 2007

There Is Nothing Left To Desire


Walt and I have been on the Garden Island of Kauai for the last week. I had a grand picture of blogging our vacation every day, both as a way to stay connected here and as a way to record our adventures. As is often the case when I picture how something is going to go, it goes in very different ways.

The first couple of days I was dealing with some disappointment and disillusionment. Kauai is much drier and less lush than I remember from my girlfriend trip here a decade ago. The locals are more unfriendly than friendly. Our condo is not ocean view as I've spent that last several months anticipating it would be. The magic that I was so looking forward to reclaiming in this tropical paradise just seemed to elude me at every turn.

Our twentieth wedding anniversary is August 16, so this trip is a celebration of that milestone. And it is a milestone worthy of celebration. The problem is that the ebb and flow of a long relationship doesn't necessarily follow a calendar. All of the changes that have occurred for me as a result of the February workshop have meant a significant rocking of our marital boat.

I'm not just writing as much as I can, a big change in itself, I'm more focused on what I want out of my life. My ongoing spiritual quest has deepened and is actually beginning to coalesce into a practice. I'm more aware of how my time is spent and I'm wanting more light and honesty in my relationships.

Walt has been tremendously supportive. He bought me a laptop. He reads my blog and talks to me about it. He does dishes more often. He encourages me at every turn.

Even with all of our efforts to stay connected, our connection has been stretched very thin over the last few months.

So when we arrived in Lihue last Thursday, everything felt off. Not romantic (which I wasn't expecting). Not even best friend companionable (which I was expecting).There is a mural in the airport showing beautiful Hawaiian men dancing the words "There is nothing left to desire." The phrase caught my eye and followed me into the humid Hawaiian afternoon.

A perfect description of this tropical paradise. How fortunate we are to be able to be here. How ungrateful and wrong I was feeling for desiring much much more.

When the room wasn't what I had been led to believe it was going to be (by my marital partner), I tipped into a space of fear that I can usually keep myself out of.

I have learned that when things don't work out the way I want them to, if I can stay open, there are always bigger gifts waiting around the bend. I stayed with the fear and disappointment this time instead of converting all of that energy into the power of anger, which has been my habit in previous years.

Because I stayed honest, and because he doesn't give up, Walt and I have had a couple of really powerful conversations about where we are, why we're here and how we might get where we both really want to be but can't quite find our way to.

And we are finding grand adventures and having great fun together. We've snorkeled nearly every day, including an amazing catamaran excursion to Niihau and Lehua. We've hiked canyons and explored beaches and eaten a ton of Shave Ice. In spite of quarts of heavy-duty sun screen I managed to burn the backs of my legs a bit (maybe more than a bit), but for the most part we've stayed healthy.

There are chickens running wild everywhere here. The roosters start crowing around 4:00 AM. Hens and chicks scurry along the roadsides, in parking lots, in the parks and on the beaches. They roost in the trees by the pool. Because I love chickens - it's an irrational thing, kind of like some people are afraid of spiders - the poultry has been a highlight.

We've seen amazing sights.

Kalalua Valley on the Na Pali coastline - the view from our hike.

Green turtles playing in the water yesterday right next to our snorkeling spot at Queen's Bath.

Spinner dolphins and bottle nose dolphins keeping us company on the catamaran trip. Monk seals swimming by underwater during another snorkeling day. Great (this is part of the name, not just a description) Frigatebirds and Tropicbirds and Boobies and Albatross soaring above Kilauea Lighthouse.

Fish of every color and size and shape swimming with us in every snorkel spot we've found. Some have taste tested us - just tentative nibbles on calves. The first time that happened, I thought Walt was fooling around and was very surprised when no one was there.

Two of our favorite snorkeling companions.

Walt is golfing Princeville this morning. If you're a golfer this is a big deal. I'm so glad he's doing something cool for himself, and pretty darned happy to have the time to be here.

We're going to 'Anini Beach to snorkel this afternoon. It used to be Wanini Beach until someone got annoyed and shot the "W" off the sign. Everyone thought it was one of those corrections back into old Hawaiian and the name stuck. That kind of sums up this place. Rules are followed loosely, if at all. It's made me think about how rule-oriented I really am, even though I think I hate rules. It appears that I feel safer when I know what the rules are, what the expectations are. It appears to be part of my whole good girl pattern, the pattern I'm well on my way to breaking. I wonder what consonant I could shoot off a sign. . .!

I find that I'm awake early here, usually 5:00 or 5:30. Next to snorkeling, the morning time is my favorite thing about this trip. I sit on our third floor lanai, facing the clouded eastern sky and playful trade winds and meditate. Then I watch the day come to life as the clouds race across the sky away from the rising sun, leaving the palms swaying in their wake. The ubiquitous Mynahs screech at the Moas (the official Hawaiian word for the chickens that have overrun the island) who crow and cluck and cheep themselves awake. Coffee, papaya with lime, apple bananas for breakfast. A precious hour of crowded solitude.

I'm aware that snorkeling is much like my morning meditation. Breathe in. Breathe out. Be present. Breathe in. Breathe out. Be aware. Nothing exists but my breath, my being and that moment in time. And for that moment there truly is nothing left to desire. I am being in as many of those moments as I can.

We have another week. Who knows what magic might happen in these next days. It seems like this would be the perfect place for our desire for a stronger, happier, more intimate marrage to begin to bear fruit.


classroomdoor said...

Looks and sounds like a trip that is filling you up! Be well and travel safely. R

Anonymous said...

Deb, It looks so beautiful there. Enjoy each and every second of all the beauty that surrounds you, and go with the flow. Everything that is happening is exactly how it is meant to be. May you find the magic there you are looking for and that you both deserve. Be safe and take care.XOXO

Sue said...

Gorgeous photos, Deb!

Need to learn to go with the flow myself ... you can be my guru ...

Hope the rest of the trip blossoms into something wonderful.

Vacations are never what they seem to be, are they? And as soon as I get home, I'm ready for another vacation...

Hope you can relax, enjoy ... and safe travels to you...

Have a foo-foo drink for me!



grammer said...

Deb, thanks for the beautiful pictures and deep sharing.

I was a bit lost with the mention of a "stretched-thin" relationship followed by tales of your grand adventures. I guess what was missing for me was some tangible contrast there, some clearer picture of the struggles you had before trip, which would set the stage for that awkward first night together.

Delightful to find you both having such a great time! The morning meditations sound perfect. Crow a hello to the Moas for me! xo t

holly said...

Beautiful pictures and descriptions, deb!

Hope the rest of your trip is the bigger gift that comes with unmet expectations!

Deb said...

I need to clarify that these particular photos are borrowed from the internet. They look as close to ours as I could find. I haven't had a chance to download ours from the camera yet. They will be better! :) I'll share them with the end-of-vacation blog. Wi-fi here is really unpredictable, so there probably won't be another entry until we get home.

Aloha and love!

kario said...

Been missing you, Deb! I"m so glad you're away and taking this time with a person who is as willing to put some effort into this relationship as you are. You deserve nothing less.

You are so incredibly strong, my dear, and I'm so thrilled that you're practicing acknowledging your desires.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

"A precious hour of crowded solitude.

I'm aware that snorkeling is much like my morning meditation. Breathe in. Breathe out. Be present. Breathe in. Breathe out. Be aware. Nothing exists but my breath, my being and that moment in time. And for that moment there truly is nothing left to desire. I am being in as many of those moments as I can. "

You've said so well, what I've felt so often.

Jerri said...

"...nothing left to desire."

Isn't that the way to live? As though all is as it should be.

Missing you like crazy and looking forward to your return. Meantime, traveling mercies to you.

Kim said...

What a wonderful post. The photos and your descriptions are equally gorgeous, but my number two favorite part is your powerful honestly. I have only been married five (almost) years, but I have definitely learned that we have only slightly more control over the tides of our marriage than we do over the tides of the sea. The trick is, can you ride it out until the next rushing tide comes in.

My number one favorite part? Your writing, of course!