I’m recently back from Maui. I spent some great, quality time with family and friends and LOTS of time by myself. Loved it all. Here goes…
I’m back in the game. 2012 thus far…Indonesia, South Korea, New York. Twice. Guyana, Dubai, India and Canada. Also twice. Even a trip to Disney World. It’s as if I have my “old life” back. Is that what I want? A decades-long, roller coaster-like trajectory of ups and downs. There’s an old saying…”wherever you go, there you are.”
Nice self portrait, huh? On a deserted beach, between Kihe and Lahaina.
|Taken at Lumeria Yoga retreat, above Paia. Visited with owner Xorin Balbe, who had a vision and went with it. AMAZING place.|
|In downtown Paia, “Maui’s coolest little town,” with Lauren, one of the three coolest little nieces.||9000’+, on Mount Holeaka volcano, waiting for the sun to come up, and freezing my a off.|
I write this from “Stinger Rays,” the innocuous little “tropical” bar you can find in every major airport in the Hawaiian Islands. Earlier today, while walking the beach in Wailea after a glorious 8 days in Maui, I found myself dwelling on this…wherever you go, there you are….
The 16 friends and family members that were here when I arrived last Monday are long gone. I’ve rented a tourist-cliché Jeep Wrangler, pulled the top off, cranked the local Island tunes, and have been cruisin’ from one side of the Island to the other, and stopping at Hana, Paia and all the small towns in between. Just taking my time. And taking it all in. Thinking of the years gone by. The good times. And the bad. Times spent so close with another, it was as if two hearts beat as one. And so alone, I felt as if I were the last person on Earth. Warm in the sunshine and under the roof of a beautiful oceanview home, and cold on stiff leather seats, parked on a desolate dirt road. Extremes.
|Incredibly atmospheric Thai “restaurant,” just outside of Hana Town. A romantic lunch for one.||One of the many spectacular pools at The Wailea Resort, where i stayed with my family for the first few days.|
|One of a few small, colorful stands –virtually in the middle of nowhere — on the windy 50 mile drive to Hana. Rented a jeep, took the top off and went. me, myself and I.||Another stop on the road to Hana. “Honor System?!?” Try THAT one in LA!|
And as I realize as I walk today, getting the last possible moment of the hot Hawaii sun, the amazingly soft sand and cool Pacific lapping at my ankles, that everything I’ve felt over the years, I’ve felt this week. Here in Paradise. Thinking further, I’ve felt this all today. From exhilaration (mostly) to (momentary) emptiness. I’m thankful that these latter moments are more and more fleeting for me these days. I’ve learned to recognize them when they come. And file them away. No, throw them away, once and for all. Because there’s no place for them. Here, in Paradise certainly, but nowhere else as well.
|During my 1-man road trip, AND..an excellent reason why I’m not big on close-ups.||The chapel on the grounds at Grand Wailea. You could see this from my hotel room balcony. Quickie marriage in Maui anybody? Uh…no.|
|A photo I took of my excellent friend Eric…taking photos. Dawn on Mount Haleaka.||Laptop. Phone calls to India. Bloody Mary(s). Breakfast on my last day in Maui|
WHERE EVER YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE.
Hawaii is a funny place. At least it has always been for me. The sea, the air, the sea turtles you can swim up on and touch, the lush jungle, the sand, the overgrown paths to even wilder waterfalls. The kitschy but comfortable Mai Tai bars; the cheesy Hawaiian tunes that can’t help but warms your heart; the overdone yet still magical resorts. Whenever I’m here, I’m transformed by the landscape. As close to heavne as you can feel. Or I can feel, anyways. And when I’m here, and in love, then my world is complete.
|Black sand beach, Hana.||A very typical, colorful shop, in the peaceful, yet bustling, little town of Paia.|
|Ohl Gulch, on the way to Hana. Literally hundreds of sites like this on the 50 mile drive.||One more shot at the spectacular Lumeria Yoga Retreat outside of Paia.|
Despite the gratifying abundance of family and friends on this trip, I’ve spent much of time alone, and the last couple of days, completely on my own. And today, as I walk in Paradise and see couples strolling hand-in-hand, and another being married, barefoot, on the beach just in front of me, a knife-edged loneliness stabs at my heart. But it doesn’t last, because I don’t allow it to. I think of the plethora of resort-tethered divorcees I’ve encountered this week; their outward sweetness a diametric reflection of a just beneath-the-surface desperation. A need to be “loved.” I feel for them. And each time, I think that it is better to be alone for the right reasons than together with someone for the wrong ones. And just like that, my loneliness passes. But not before I take in the couples around me, and wish them well.
The mind plays funny tricks on us, if we allow it to. It wasn’t so terribly long ago that I called that leather seat and dirt road home, replacing that with a hastily thrown together “bedroom,” in a tiny storage area in porno studio/wherehouse surrounded by barbed wire. And I’ll be damned that as challenging as I made much of that time, I clearly remember genuine, lasting moments of happiness.
|With my great friends Eric and Samantha, at the beautiful Botero bar at The Grand Wailea Resort.|
|With two of my best and oldest pals, Eric (friends for 47 years, which partially explains why I’m looking so darned old!) and my brother Ken.|
So, what gives?
It’s this… we are about as happy as we make up our minds to be.
I’m glad that I’m learning this lesson, and that the lesson is sticking, more and more. Whether leaning up against this hard concrete wall in the departure terminal, or…wherever, doing…whatever… it can always be this way.
By the way, I f’n love Maui. And don’t want to leave. And I’m looking forward to the now-boarding flight on this nearly empty plane, and to having my own row. And I’m beyond excited at seeing my doggies and loving on them,. And driving home to Big Bear and playing by the lake. And working from my living room over the forest. And going back to India. And…everything.
“It?” Choosing happiness.
Just as easily end up a safety net.