Komodo Dragons and A Great White Shark

river of life

Travelling changes the way you see the world. And it’s easy to lose sight of this fact when you go through the routine of your daily life.

I only just remembered this in a New York subway station, en route to a yoga training in Hilo, Hawaii when suddenly I just started noticing the people around me. I looked into their faces and tried to divine their stories. I wanted to know what was playing on their IPods; what beat was making them tap their feet or how they got that scar on their upper lip. I felt an overwhelming sense of compassion and connection to every single person within my field of vision.

And I realized it was probably because I’m off on another journey. Forgoing expectation, purpose and plan in order to set my senses a flutter with the electricity of the moment. Seeing things as they are. Taking some time to plug out so that ultimately, I can plug IN. For some reason, this is more difficult when I have to do laundry or walk the dog.

After a long flight, leaving behind the frigid temperatures of Montreal for the more tropical temperatures of Hawaii, I landed. And I was not greeted at the airport with Mai-Tais or azure-blue waters, nor was there a tanned and muscled Islander wearing a hula skirt ready to lei me. (Pun oh-so-intended) But instead, I was greeted with a rainstorm so fierce, so persistent it was as if Lono, the Hawaiian god of rain, had forgotten to turn off his sprinkler system. Rain that cannot be described in droplets, or streaks or even as heavy. Torrents of rain, sheets of rain, window-panes of rain that made it difficult to hear your own thoughts. A display of nature so impressive, so raw it cannot be described in the mundaneness of cats and dogs, but rather toss in a couple of Komodo dragons and a Great White Shark.

I sat on the lanai of our very eclectic and interesting Hilo house, rented off of Airbnb, trying to absorb it all; with nothing but thoughts, a pen, my journal and stretches of Time to distract me, but mostly I just smelled cat pee. I listened to the tree frogs that perform an orchestra of “peeps”, sounding like a migration of those sugared, yellow marshmallow chicks that make their way straight into my garbage can at Easter. (Because who actually likes those things anyways?) I watched the rain water travel down heavy stalks of foreign foliage like stripes of electricity running down the sides of a rippling knife fish, luminescent in its contrast against all that green.

And though I’ve already gone through all of that massive upheaval at my first yoga training; all of that raw, unbalanced mixture of excitement and insecurity, this time I feel a little bit more grounded. A quiet sense of confidence. A more established sense of self from which to practice, share, breathe and talk about poo. (Yogis love to talk about poo.) And hopefully to shake things up a bit. To shave off a layer or two and expose some allegorical “skin”.

Hopefully, somehow the experience transforms you.  Makes you shine just a little bit brighter than before, or at the very least, gives you another “tool” to add to your ever-expanding belt as we move through building the paths of our lives.

Because the beginning is the good part. Expectations are empty. The pores are open. And like a Moray Eel or a Great White Shark, the receptors are ready, tingling and eager.

And I, for one, am ready for a lesson.


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