“Did you see where it go?”
“Nah. But I think so, it went down when he try and catch –“ is barely off my lips before Makalohi glides across the beach and dives easily under the waves.
It is a perfect blue of a day on O`ahu - the water, the sky, the light - all brilliant and crisp in a multitude of hues: azure, turquoise and periwinkle. Standing along the shoreline in Waimanalo at a child’s birthday party, one of the littler attendees had retrieved an adult’s empty green bottle, using it to play water games. One quick wave, and the empty Heineken buoyed away from the child into the deeper waters just out of reach.
Makalohi’s brother tried to retrieve the empty bottle, but his little arms and legs, where unable to reach. Unable to stand by and watch, his sister slipped into the ocean to retrieve the unattended mess.
“Is she looking for something?” a little girl of about six, in a navy and hot pink Hello Kitty bathing suits asks.
“Yeah,” I say squinting the sun out my eyes. “Someone was playing with a glass bottle and Aunty went to go get it. You know,” I grab the opportunity to teach this little one, “You shouldn’t have glass bottles in the ocean.”
She takes one look at me and shrugs, “Some people do.”
Mother Theresa once said, "I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there."
Going against something seems to be a gross depletion of energy. I say seems because I continue to do it; if I knew or believed this, then I would stop. Right? Still learning.
I look up, Makalohi is still swimming, still searching. Hello Kitty couture has dismissed me for the moment since she stated the obvious of which I could not deny. That is what some people do, I answer her, silently in my head.
Going against something is exerting all of your effort to go in the opposite direction of the current’s energy. It is going out when the little voice tells you "no." It is taking a job that you hate for the money, instead of letting the ripples of your passion turn into a thunderous stream. It is floundering still by the dead weight of your attachments, allowing victimhood to wash you in to stagnate waters. It is expecting someone else to change based upon your, well, expectations. It is anything that is not moving with the present current of life.
I turn, to the little one still gazing out to the ocean with me, “Can you imagine what would happen to a turtle who comes across that bottle and tries to bite it?”
She scrunches her face, “Not good.”
“No, not for monk seal either,” I say, but I do not push; she’s right that some people do have a bottle in the ocean. I can’t stop them. It’s enough for me to reroute my own mind to not pollute the ocean in my cranium.
Of course, I am still responsible; I still have my part to play, yet I ask you: Have you made changes in your life because someone scolded you, or because you saw something a different way?
“When you once see something as false which you have accepted as true, as natural, as human, then you can never go back to it.”
― Jiddu Krishnamurti
― Jiddu Krishnamurti
“What if she doesn’t find it?” Hello Kitty asks me.
“I don’t know,” I say and mean it. Makalohi has been swimming awhile. Every so often, I point her six inches left or north from where the bottle was last seen, but it has been sometime now and nothing has surfaced.
When our eyes see something in a new way, say a pattern or a problem is illuminated, the steps for liberation are not always easily discerned. In other words, we don’t always get the immediate prize at the bottom of our Cracker Jack decision. In Ann Randolph’s writing class, we write “What’s Next, What’s Next, What’s Next” until our mind releases a new thought to be put on the page. The stare of a blank piece of paper – infinite potential – debilitates the ability to create sometimes, and in that vast opportunity, in our fear of failure, we do absolutely nothing. Whereas if we simply write, “What’s next,” we are still writing, our synapses are still firing; we are placing one foot in front of the other, and the journey of a thousand thoughts has begun, no matter how bold or how classy, no matter with assonance or alliteration, it has begun.
My Dad and I were talking once about a mutual friend that was in a very large rut of his life. My Dad, exasperated said, “I told him, make one small change a day. One! Eat at a new restaurant. Paint your room. Move your furniture, something, each day that is how change happens.”
I know some of the greatest gifts of my life have come from places and spaces I could have never dreamed, but simply by falling, sliding, and crawling forward I was in the right time zone for the grace to rain (even if I cursed it’s wetness, it still fell, and nourished me).
Everything I have heard or read about creating the life you desire begins with the clarity of your thought, turns into the commitment to your intention, and the release of the how.
A few years ago I was chatting with Jane Bell, mystic of all things Egypt, and quite an abundant, powerful woman. We were talking about getting some of the basic details of my new life on Kaua`i in order, standing outside the Lani Kai, waist deep in the ocean. She turned to me and shouted over the waves, something I will never forget, “I have watched people, time after time sabotage their life because they thought they had to know How. HOW,” she emphasized, “is the domain of the divine.”
Makalohi begins her empty-handed breast-stroke back to shore; Hello Kitty, disappointed, turns back to her peers to play, and I simply stand with the waves of my memory lapping at my feet. There was nothing I could say to either of these two ladies about what didn’t get rectified; many years from now a tourist on Waikiki would pick up a piece of green sea glass in joy and never know the difference.
I don’t know how that bottle disappeared. I don’t know why people change. I don’t know what the grand evolution of our consciousness will be. I am rehabituating myself to live a life based on how many steps forward I take in the present, rather than frozen in fear of the past; on learning what I am capable of saving, rather than blaming myself-the-martyr for every pollution I see; on how many moments of loving compassion I cultivate, rather than slips into the ease of judgment;. I am holding myself to a standard of constant growth, which will include constant failure, and granting my-self compassionate independence from those that do not see things the same.
“Freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something- and it is only such love that can know freedom.”
― Jiddu Krishnamurti
― Jiddu Krishnamurti