Current location: AirBnB in Pahoa, the Big Island, Hawaii
Current soundtrack: tiny coqui frogs at night (listen on YouTube)
Current mood: #MeditateAnywhere
After separating from my ex, I am currently traveling in the Big Island, Hawaii. There is a growing number of covid-19 cases in the United States, but officials do not seem to be very concerned and everything is business as usual at this time.
Although travel can be disruptive to one's normal routine, I've learned that I can carve out time to meditate literally anywhere - with very little or no props needed. A simple bath towel rolled up on the floor or on top of another towel work great as the perfect travel-style substitute for a professional meditation cushion and a sitting mat.
Today I did a Vipassana meditation for 1 hour in the afternoon after taking a walk and getting drenched in a warm tropical rain. I find that every time I do yoga or meditate it helps improve my mood and emotional well-being right away. Since I did not bring my yoga mat or meditation cushion, I am mastering the art of creating zen zones at the places I’m staying, with any props I can find on hand: blankets, cushions, wooden floors, my handy kikoy (traditional woven wrap / cotton towel / sarong from South Africa).
There are so many books at this cute, remote, off-the-grid AirBnB in Pahoa where I’m staying over the weekend. Off the grid means it is running on solar energy and rain water they collect. Wi-Fi is available between 6am and 9pm only. Quiet hours are strictly enforced. Sounds like a paradise to me right now as my heart craves peace, stillness and silence.
The guest cottage is located on Papaya Farms Road on a large property, several acres, they say. I had a wildlife encounter last night when I went outside to get some fresh air. The sudden rustle in the bushes - sounded like something big, but I couldn’t quite see it in the dusk. Then it showed itself - a full grown feral pig was going about its business and did not mind me at all. I followed it and ran into a family of five or six pigs and piglets feasting on ripe oranges and tangerines that fall right from the trees in the orchard. I think they came close to my cottage at night as I heard them squeaking fairly close.
The next morning, I walked up to the orange tree to see what the piggies were all so excited about and picked an orange and a tangerine for breakfast. Those turned out so sweet! The first orange I picked right from the tree in my life. I feel magic in This is my quiet sanctuary for a few days. A place to slow down and rest and rinse away all worries from my busy mind. Padma, my host, greeted me on arrival and seemed like a very nice lady, very knowledgeable about local lava flows and places to eat and listen to live music.
Today I found the Mermaid Ponds that I wanted to see since day One on the Big Island. To get there I took a short drive down on Government Beach road, this wondrous dirt road lined with hundred-year old Mango trees with their branches hanging so low they almost sweep the car as I drive past. The views of the magnificent, rugged and unspoiled coastline on the right.
This road must be driven to be believed. You are literally stepping back in time as you drive by the remains of the ancient Hawaiian Community that once lived here. A path to the Mermaid Ponds is unmarked and you have to know where it is. Padma asked if I’d liked to have her dad show me the way but I wanted to find it on my own. If you’re patient and pay attention then you will find it. The path starts on the side of the road and takes you 100-200 feet in the lush tropical jungle. It looks like something straight from Hayao Miyazaki’s fairy tales (the author of the Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro etc), and I am in awe of the beauty of ancient Hawaii.
There are a lot of spiritual and religious books of different traditions in the guest cottage. A good variety, I would say. To name a few: Perfect Love - the Meditations, Prayers and Writings of Tersa of Avila; The Way to Love - The Last Meditations of Anthony De Mello, Healograms by Bryan Robinson and a lot of books on Vaishnavism.
Right outside my door, there is a statue of meditating Buddha, sitting so peacefully, his eyes gently closed. I take it as a sign to meditate and settle in for an hour-long Vipassana meditation. Somehow the presence of these books and thoughts of people who wrote them make me feel in good company. There were, are and will always be many others who walk on the way of discovering their true self. Today I choose the perfect peace.