Quote of the day: “…I want first of all – in fact, as an end to these other desires – to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact – to borrow from the language of the saints -to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony…” ― Anne Morrow Lindbergh
I returned to Akiko’s Buddhist Bed and Breakfast north of Hilo earlier this week after visiting the Kona side of the island and finding it less “real” than my life at Akiko’s. While the sunshine and beaches of Kona are quite nice, I found the vog (smog caused by gases from the volcano accumulating in the atmosphere) much worse over there than on Hilo side and it felt so much busier, faster moving, and touristy over there, that I longed for the simplicity of Akiko’s place.
When I’m here, I am surrounded by rain forest and stunning beauty everywhere I look. I’ve already been reminded of the rain and mosquitoes as it has rained heavily this week and I have a fresh batch of mosquito bites from the ever-present stealth mosquitoes here. But I have a much different perspective now about both the rain and mosquitoes (well less so, the mosquitoes – they still annoy me a lot). I realized that they are just a part of this place. The stunning beauty of the rain forest would not exist without the rain and the sunshine that comes in between. Kona has little rain, but the landscape is much more barren there.
There is wildness at Akiko’s. The rain forest is not completely tamed and manicured. I love that wildness, even while I cringe at some of the insects and creatures that thrive in it.
I have settled into a gentle routine of meditating, making photographs, writing, reading, knitting, and attending to my daily needs. I have tired of visiting tourist spots and become much more attuned to living in an appreciation of each moment where I am.
The day before yesterday, it was raining most of the day. While I was taking out the compost bucket, I slipped and fell down hard in a puddle of water on the cement. My quite normal reaction was one of embarrassment and wanting to escape quickly to deal with my soaked and muddy clothing. But Akiko saw me fall and urged me to not get up immediately, but instead to sit on the ground (soaked and muddy as I was) and slow my breathing, focusing only on breathing mindfully.
I did as she suggested and immediately noticed how I was gasping for breath and in total fight or flight mode. After my second slow breath, tears started streaming down my face, even though I had been unaware of any emotions associated with the fall. As I sat and breathed I could feel the shock of the fall flowing out of my body as peace flowed in. After about 20 minutes, I felt totally at peace and in harmony. I got up with no pain or after effects from the fall and went to shower and wash out my muddy clothing. The next day I experienced no after effects, no bruises, nothing, but the memory of the fall and how being mindful and relaxed created a much different effect than my normal behavior would have. Amazing grace!
May you walk with amazing grace through your life today.