Lessons from Kaua’i – Firming myself in the Peace of Spirit

I have spent the last couple of weeks here in Hawai’i. We started on the Big Island and then came over here to Kaua’i to spend time with our friends from the community here. Here in Hawai’i I feel very removed from my life on the mainland. The six hour time change means it’s already late afternoon at home by the time I finish my coffee, so any work I might do arrives pretty much after everyone there is done for the day. It seems like even the most simple communication has a two day lag time.

I started to feel this as we crossed the 2640 miles of open water between the California coast and the lava crust airstrip at Kona. There is no fuel along the way. The regular aircraft radios do not work. The internet does not work either. There is nothing but the fuel in the tanks, the constant breathe of the engines, the night sky, and 2500 miles of open water. And so upon arriving here and landing where the black lava field falls into the deep blue ocean, it feels like we have landed on another planet or the Moon.

A lot of energy has been moving over the last couple of weeks. We had the new moon in Leo on July 28th, and then we had the full Moon in the Lion’s Gate on August 11th, and a lot was shifting during this time. I had two communications from people that I have had difficult relationships with in the past, and several “crisis” situations in business, the church community, and my family that seemed to require urgent attention. Most of this energy was just drama, but it is easy for me to get caught up in it in the moment.

From so far away, however, there is really only so much that I can do. There are so many demands that pull my attention away from my present experience in Hawai’i. For the first week of being here, I tried hard to keep up with everything on the mainland, but then in the middle of the week, when we packed up and changed islands, I had to let go of the effort to keep in the loop and trust that everything will be fine until I get back. I hear Padrinho in my ear saying “reduce your sense of self importance.” The concept that everyone will be fine without me is a big step in that direction.

I felt a lot of tension in my body from this energetic division. And once I gave up on trying to stay connected on the mainland, I felt myself really finally arrive here in Kaua’i. This island offers such a gentle and loving embrace. I feel so at home with all of my brothers in the community, and it feels good to work hard outside to prepare the grounds for the spiritual works we have done here. Good hard working brothers make good company and help me feel strong and grounded.

As I felt myself arriving and grounding here on these 5,000,000 year old lava flows that created Kaua’i, what came for me was peace of spirit. I felt in my own body and psyche that I am all A Ok. Sure there are a lot of things going on in the mainland. Sure there are people who are upset because they do not know how their needs are going to be met. Sure there are lots of people who might be disappointed that I am not responding at the moment to their urgencies. But what I have deep in my Solar plexus right now is feeling Irie–which is to say that I have a sense of peace of spirit, that everything is ok here and now an in this moment, and that I am very fortunate to love all of my relations.

So here’s to the islands, and here’s to firming ourselves in the Peace of Spirit that we receive when we are truly present with the Sun the Moon and the Stars, the Earth the Wind and the Sea. All of that is here in Hawai’i.

Peace

Telluride –

It has been a few days since I have written anything, and I am starting this without a very clear idea of where this is heading. We came out to Telluride, Colorado to enjoy a month of late winter and early spring here in this beautiful box canyon. The picture you see is from behind a frozen waterfall up at the top of a little box canyon near our house here. It amazes me that we can walk a quarter of a mile from our house and find such a miracle.

This valley holds a very sacred energy, and the spirits of the people who lived here over the last thousand years are very present. This was a summer hunting and camping ground for many centuries. The weather was too harsh to live here year round without electricity and material support trucked in here. The winters up at 9,000 feet of elevation in these mountains are unrelenting. But in the summer it’s a different story. The valley floor is full of elk in the summer, and the black bears roam through the alleys in town overturning trash cans.

I have walked through some of these special places and felt the spirits of people who lived here a long time ago. I felt the joy of returning to favorite summer camps. And there is another history laid on top of that ancient story which is just as palpable. A history of hardened settlers moving west from post civil war America to mine these mountains for gold. The first mining claim was made here in 1875, and it was a tough bunch who managed to survive here year round. There is a monument outside a building in town which notes that it was the first bank robbed by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

We took a tour of the local graveyard last summer, and it tells many stories. There are the graves of two brothers side by side, both veterans of the civil war, one on the union side the other on the confederate side. There are graves from epidemics, graves of women who worked in the red light district, graves of many minors who lost their lives in these harsh conditions.

Mining was the only industry here until the ski resort opened in 1972. And this brought yet another historical overlay to the region. Now the famous Telluride Mushroom festival brings together dead heads, mycologists, cooks, foragers, scientists and artists. Music festivals, the Telluride Film Festival, and all kinds of nature lovers gather now in this magical place.

Telluride presents such a stark contrast between the natural beauty of this box canyon, and the very harsh conditions. I am very grateful to be welcome here now, but I often wonder what it must have been like for the Ute people who came here before their way of life was uprooted and destroyed. Telluride sits at the top of box canyon that can only be accessed from the west. If you head west out of the canyon it’s not very far to arrive in Moab Utah.

Ajax peak stands at the top of the canyon to the west with dramatic water falls flowing into the head waters of the San Miguel river. As you walk along the river heading east, you come across beautiful meadows and ponds with beavers and ducks in them even today. Now there is a beautiful park at the east end of town called Town Park, and when I walk along the river here, I can almost feel the presence of all the generations of people who camped here in the summer. I can imagine their teepees and fires, and the game that they hunted.

I walked up to the top of the canyon to the frozen waterfall with some friends of mine who are members of the Native American Church. We stood in the remarkable landscape and made an offering of tobacco to the spirits that inhabit there. We asked for their blessing for us to be on this land and for their protection. Such spiritual power exists here, and on top of it are all of these overlays of history.

It reminds me that I am here now, but only for a flash of time. Across the street right now I hear the sounds of demolition of one house so that another can be built. But it all depends on our supply chains and support from the outside. One winter with no electricity, and this valley will be empty once again. Our presence here feels so permanent, but the spirits who live in these mountains have seen changes over thousands of years. We are just visitors here, and I am grateful for this moment that allows me to be a small part of this.

Peace.