Posts Tagged ‘Maui’
You may have seen the magazine photos of me that were taken last year. I’m sitting on a sandy beach, white clouds drifting above, palm trees reaching skyward, a peaceful ocean stretching to the horizon. I’ve lived on the Hawaiian island of Maui for some years now—after more years of visiting on a regular basis. If you’ve ever experienced the serene beauty of Hawaii, you’ll know how it feels to look out across the water and breathe in the warm, fragrant air. I am beyond grateful for the natural beauty that surrounds me here, the ocean where I swim every day (often with a posse of sea turtles), the opportunity to walk in dense green forests that are alive with birds and bright with flowers. Fellow Hawaii resident and inspirational author Alan Cohen says friends sometimes ask why he would want to live so far from the mainland. He replies by glancing around at this tropical paradise and joking, “Have you had your head examined lately?”
Maybe a cluster of islands in the middle of a vast ocean isn’t for everyone, but we all have an idea of paradise. As Melville said, “In the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy.” Continue Reading
As I was driving my daughter Sommer to the airport for her return to college after a long weekend home, she was admiring my new watch. This was the first new timepiece I’d had in at least a decade. I really enjoyed looking at its shiny steel-and-black face, and as I did, I’d think about how this was my favorite watch of all time. Yet I knew in my heart that Sommer would love to wear it, since men’s watches seemed to be the current craze for young women.
As I dropped her off at the curb and assisted her with her luggage, I was prompted to remove the watch and give it to her, even though it was my most prized possession (particularly since I have almost no possessions any longer that I even care about, let alone prize).
Sommer’s response was, “No, Dad, you love this watch!”
I insisted, telling her that I’d feel greater joy by giving it to her and knowing she’d treasure it. I also felt that it would symbolize our staying together in time, even though we’d be thousands of miles apart. She boarded her plane glowing, and I left feeling that I had grown immeasurably as a person, since such a compassionate act would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for me several years ago.
Sommer called me in Maui a few months later to tell me that she was sending me a present, stressing that it was a very, very special gift. It turned out to be her all-time favorite painting that she’d created and had hung in her apartment for a long time. As she told me later: “I really learned something the day you gave me your beloved watch, and I wanted to give you something that’s my single most precious item. I’m giving it to you, Dad, even though it’s difficult to part with, because I want you to have a piece of me that I love with you.”
The painting hangs proudly on my wall as a symbol of the beauty and perfection of reaching out compassionately in response to a felt moment. By being and living compassion, you invite and encourage others, just by your example, to choose to do the same.
My latest book Excuses Begone was written day by day—every day from February 1st to October 2008. My inspiration came from nature in the most beautiful way. Before beginning each new chapter in the book, I would drive 35 miles east of where I live on Maui and then hike over an incredible number of rocks and through trees for about two hours. There’s a place where a 50-foot waterfall drops into a pool, surrounded by guava trees covered with guava fruit.
Here I would stay right under the waterfall and just let the water cascade down on my head. In the hours I spent there, everything I needed for my next chapter would appear. I didn’t have an outline or any organization—just a beautiful, blissful place in the rain forest. It was almost as if God wrapped his arms around me and said, “This is what you’ll need for the next chapter. Just be at peace.”
After a couple of hours of being out there in nature and finding my own nature, I would come back and sit down to write and everything just flowed so easily and so beautifully.
That’s how it works when you follow your bliss. Everyone says, “That’s crazy—you have to drive 35 miles and hike two hours and it’s so isolated out there.” I wouldn’t even begin to know how to start a new chapter without making conscious contact with God.
That’s my way—it’s not the way—it’s just my way.