I’m into my fourth week on Maui and though the pace, the people, and the weather are still new to me, they’ve all become a little more comfortable, a little more homey. I live in a community of people who are mostly Krishna devotees with their own individual eclectic beliefs tossed in. Mostly there is compassion for other beings – human, vegetable and animal – gratitude, and joy. They talk to me with an intimacy that still catches me off guard. When speaking we look each other in the eye. When greeting and parting, we embrace, always. When we ask each other how we are doing, we really want to know. It’s a significant change of pace from the crowded and silent commute I made from Alameda to San Francisco on BART everyday for a year. Now I live in a house with Angelina, Gaia, Kalia, and his daughter Luna. Angelina went with me to the emergency room last week in the middle of the night, but that’s a story for another time. Kalia introduced me to the miracle of nutritional yeast and Bragg’s. He invites me to come swim with him and Luna at Ho’okipa Beach when I feel lonely or homesick. He looks at me when I get mopey and says simply, “Okay, it’s time for a swim,” and we’re off. Keone, does bodywork and massage therapy. He works in the garden. He reminds me how miraculous plants are. He took me to the big basil bush in the middle of the garden and showed me how to harvest the seeds before collecting them and placing four into the palm of my hand. He said one seed produced that huge overflowing basil bush that feeds us everyday and now there are hundreds of seeds which came from that one. So together we planted four new basil bushes which will make hundreds of thousands seeds more. It makes me think of cells dividing into infinity. Everyone here has there own story. Angelina is here to reunite her family. Kalia is here to kick start a super food product called “Maui Peace Bar” that comes in 24 different flavors (they’re really good!). Keone is here to heal others.
The living is simple here, and yet it is abundant! The garden is overflowing with spinach, kale, basil, onions, lettuce, papayas, peppers, mint, avocado, lilikoi and more. Everyday I find a new musical instrument hidden in an outdoor shed, under a couch, on the bottom shelf of a bookshelf. When I moved into my room I found a hammer dulcimer under my bed! Outside of the house I live in (there are two houses with several rooms and a few studio units) there is a car port area made for creating and baking pottery. In front there is a large porch with Christmas lights hanging all around. Shell dangly bits and wind chimes hang everywhere among dozens of massive spider webs that no one will knock down. Buddha and Krishna and Shakti statues sit at the bases of trees and on the banisters of the porch with offerings of beads and quartzes and seashells beneath them. There is a cotton tree. There is a tree that looks like a dancer, and there is a tree that has been carved into a totem pole.
There are animals everywhere. We had several chickens when I first moved here. There was Sita and her 13 chicks which the mongoose have trimmed down to a slim five. Today they were taken to a bird sanctuary because we couldn’t keep them out of the garden but caging them wasn’t an option. There’s a rabbit, and several cats. One follows me around like a dog. There are the wild chickens that come in early in the morning which I have to chase off the property most mornings. There are the dogs that chase them. There are toads, and geckos, and lizards, and cane spiders. There are giant-leafed plants with leaves so big you think you could just sprawl out on top of them.
I like this little nook of people that I have landed into almost by accident. I think about why I am here. Why I left everything behind to come to a place where I know no one when I had everything and everyone before. I think about the struggle to get here and wonder if it was really worth it, if I’ll make it here or leave in a couple of months. I think about the dreams I have and the pains I still feel. I think about the words I still want to write. I think and acknowledge that out of anywhere on this island that I could’ve landed that I couldn’t have come anyplace better. What better place to infuse clarity, confidence, and self-love than in a community where compassion and support is abundant and where my creativity will have room to grow? I think about the dozens of reasons that I gave my family and friends for why I absolutely had to come to Maui. I was told I was being rash, even reckless. Maybe so. Now I’m here and I can barely remember half of those reasons. I believe I needed to go somewhere where I could just be. I needed to be somewhere quiet so that my self could take center stage in my life. Now she’s here. I’m here, watching and waiting for whatever is next. Now, I want to have a job that doesn’t define me so that my words can freely flow when I come home at night. I want to plan my trip to the next destination now, because I acknowledge and accept my inherent need to move freely and lightly between places. I want to make my own individual path towards saving the world. I want to help others write down their truths the way I have always striven to write down mine. Today, this is all I want.