Ahhh, vacation... / by vanessa

Well, we're back from a week on idyllic Kaua'i. I don't have enough superlatives at my disposal to adequately describe the beauty of the island. It's surprisingly un-developed, not sparse, just pristine and peaceful.

I definitely did not get enough hiking in. Though we did hike Waimea Canyon (the longest 18 miles in the back of a minivan ever!) and Kalalau, I long for more. The Kalalau hike was easily the best trail I've ever trekked. Though we just went a couple of miles in, the trail was a perfect mix of mountains, lush foliage, streams, boulders, sand, and ocean. That's right -- all that diversity in a single 2 mile stretch.

Beginning the week I had all these intentions of eating from the land - with Hawai'i's natural abundance of fruit. Indeed, I had fruit, just mixed w/ heaping portions of vodka and ice.

On Sunday I left the group and flew to Maui to see my dad, brother, and aunt. Maui, or at least the parts that I was in (Kihei, Wailea, Lahaina) reminded me of Malibu/Palisades. Beautiful, yes, but after being on Kaua'i for just one day, I was aware of the contrast between the two islands. My dad and brother took me to Big Beach (swearing of course that he's only been to Little Beach once. Once!). It was there that I became intimately acquainted w/ the shore. Foolishly jumping into the cusp of a wave, I was promptly served chin first into the sand and microseconds later found my legs over my head, a la a scorpion. I thought for a moment I might be paralyzed. Seriously. It scared the bejesus out of me! I got up, only to find my top had come down (in front of my dad - instantly rendering me a mortified teenager - I still grimace at the memory), but when I tried to get back up I kept being swept up by the endless waves. Finally, I pulled myself to shore and sat out for the next hour or so while my dad and Bryan played in the water. Thought a few downward dogs and forward bends would help the stinging in my lower back, but nothing. Funnily enough, I've always marveled at yogis who can whip into scorpion and I had finally done it, umm, just not in the way I had pictured.

So, as I'm wont to do, I spent much of the remainder of the trip trying to find the meaning in hurting my back. Now, a week after the crash, it is still really tender, and of course I over-analyze. Since I've read several books on injury and the mind-body connection, I'm loath to believe that anything is accidental. Am I supposed to slow down? But I wasn't doing anything ego-based! Is it family issues finding a way to work themselves out? Or is it really *just* an accident?

Back to the trip - met Janice and Michael for dinner w/ my dad and bro. All went smoothly till someone brought up the election. Sure I've heard the adage about the two things NOT to talk about, but I thought those rules only applied to acquaintances?! My dad and I did not agree, and so we all found ourselves sitting silently throughout the remainder of dinner. What's interesting is that as far as I believe I've come in striking a healthy relationship with my dad, I felt a ton of internal conflict that he was upset with my views - like somehow I was responsible for making him feel better. Like I had to salvage his evening for him, when it was actually his decision to react w/ anger to a conversation the whole table was having. So I still have a ways to go.

Next morning it was back to Kaua'i. That evening April, Bronwyn, and I formed the Kaua'i Klassy Turtles Club, a team specializing in aquatic tricks and general showmanship. April was voted captain as she clearly had the most balance and poise in the water. I was literally disappointed when I had to go inside to get a massage. Speaking of massage, had a really amazing one by a woman named Tracey from Kauai Outcall Massage. I thought it odd that I kept getting a visual of Buddha during my massage, and then afterwards found out that she's a practicing Buddhist and that she always asks that her clients get an image that will help them while she's working.

April and Bronwyn got their noses pierced while we were there. They look great! I chickened out - not for fear of pain, but fear of scarring - silly, huh? While we were back getting B's re-pierced (it fell through almost) I met Kilika (Chris), a Hawaiian guy at the shop (Eastside Choppers) that told me a little more about Hawaiian culture and spiritual philosophy than I had learned during an earlier trip on a narrated boat ride up the Na Pali coast and to Ni'ihau. He said that Hawaiians prey to the Earth, to the fish they eat, to a rock perhaps, to nature. My recounting of this comes off as trite, and for that I am truly sorry as I wish I could convey the beauty of his words. He told me that his ama ku'ua (sp?), which is akin to a totem, is a shark. I asked him how he knew that, and he smiled and said, "you just know". I was struck in talking w/ him by how disconnected w/ Earth life seems at home. That we go about our lives barely acknowledging that our food comes from any place other than the grocery store. That somehow I'm honoring nature by not eating meat, and yet I get the feeling I'm missing the point. hmmm...

I could go on and on, but I'm getting tired and have to get up to practice in the morning. It was really good to come back and teach - I missed it! I also really missed our 40 Days group. They are so strong and I am beyond blessed to be on this challenge w/ them.