Watching this three year old girl board a plane to Hawaii a couple weeks ago, I was brought back to a time I was that small on a plane. Helping the flight attendants serve drinks. Sporting those little plastic wings on my shoulder. Getting a tour of the cockpit during flight. Back when their doors were open. So much has changed. Not just in the world of aviation but in the world of that fearless little traveler with the pink backpack and long blond hair.
I’ve spent the first summer in six years not on the road. I realize that in writing this I’ve just returned from a week vacation in Hawaii and will be leaving for Black Rock City in a matter of hours, but this summer for the first time in a long time I’ve decided to forgo the itch to move, the need to dance and the love of festivities for something more. I’ve spent the last four months working almost every day on the novel I thought I’d completed a year ago. After letting it sit for eight months it was an entirely new game. It’s grown another hundred solid, fine-tuned pages and the more work I do on it, the more work I can see needs to be done.
I’ve fallen in love. Allowing myself to follow my heart into a kind of solitude to work has allowed a kind, loving and talented man to find his way into my life. Always when you least expect it, they say. I don’t know what the future will bring. I am tumbling down a steep path of transition this month but I trust that as the path unfolds out of the dark before me, I will continue to find light.
Next week will be my ninth consecutive year at Burning Man. I will burn the past and light the future once again. Burn the heartache and unworthiness. Burn the fear of success. Burn the loss of loved ones. Burn anything keeping me from evolving into my highest self. Great things are coming. Big colorful magical things. And now is the moment that we get to live inside of with love, gratitude, hope and inspiration. I have lived so many ways and so many places. I am utterly thrilled to see what more this life will bring.
Okay, I’ve been back for a whole week. It’s time to pull words from head and tell about Hawaii so I can sleep again. It was predictable in the paradise sense of things but also so much more than I had imagined. My hilarious and industrious travel partner, Jackie and I spent the first two weeks at a commune called Cinderland, before seeing the light and moving up the hill, literally and metaphorically to another ecovillage/commune setting I’m going to leave unnamed. Not to be selfish but I’d like to be able to return to the latter locale and find a bed open and waiting for me.
Day One at Cinderland we thought we struck gold. I’ll pull an excerpt from my journal to give a taste of life there:
“I am so in love with this place. Healing. Eating conscious food. Yoga in the morning. Picking avocados out of the foliage around our house. A medicine wheel on the front wall. A mandala as our doormat. Showering between the banana trees. Sewing up the holes in the mozzy net that covers our California king-sized bed. I haven’t been indoors in days. Playing dice by candlelight and learning old folk songs on the guitar. Looking forward to the Sunday drum circle at the nudie beach. A farmer’s market in Pahoa. An open mic night at the kava bar. Slowing the pace and the days feel more full than ever. Hunting for a blank wall to paint as part of my work trade. Hitchhiking between beautiful places. Multiple jaw-dropping whale sightings. Saying yes to what comes and letting go of everything else. Fear, stories, suffering. Releasing what I know about myself and seeing what’s left. Who I want to be. How open I can be. What happens when you say yes to life instead of forcing it down a certain path? The sound of drumming wafts to me from the nearest living space. The Zen Den. Or maybe Middle Earth. Four beds and a small kitchen. A bookshelf overflowing and endless murals adorning each open surface. Including the floors and the benches. Knee to shoulder-high walls enclose a small outdoor shower also covered in intricate paintings. We renamed our zone The Goddess Nest. A rainbow maze of art that is each wall-less building connects through the jungle by winding red gravel paths, lined in fruit trees and a lacy network of spiderwebs that dangles close overhead.”
The two words that sum this trip up for me are rhythm and flow. The hitchhiking adventures, sunbathing and grounding are punctuated by gatherings involving the pounding heartbeat of drums. The flow is what I keep falling into, pushing myself into, desperately trying to give into. It’s a beautiful experience to venture outside of your comfort zone. It is something that people should do much more often. I could feel that fiery Pele energy. The one that will call to you and pull you to the islands or will rage at you and kick you out until you’re ready to come back. There is an obvious escape aspect to this bippety boppity, off the grid, into the jungle lifestyle and there’s also a realm of deep healing. That looks different for each of us. Some can’t handle the trauma and stress of Babylon. Others need a quiet place to heal before returning. Some are literally hiding out from the law, or their family, or debt. Some are here to build and grow with the earth and each other.
I am breaking through barriers that I’ve built between myself and community. Working on patience and knowing when silence says more than words. Saying yes to this moment and having faith that it will lead me to the exact perfect next moment. Letting go of needing things. The baggage. Even this much stuff is way more than I need. Opening up to see how closed off I’ve been and wanting desperately to push beyond that. There are no accidents. Every step I take is in the exact right direction. I found myself unable to break away from the activated and inspiring people I was continually surrounded by in Hawaii to find the solitude to write. I could absolutely see a life there, but in this moment I am feeling pulled inward. To find space and quiet to officially finish a polished and complete draft of my novel and to get that out in the world is my only goal at present. I thank Pele and the Big Eye for giving me that clarity and I know I will be back just as I am always going back to everywhere. What a fun and rainbow ride.