Becoming Buddhist

Attempting to Live a More Mindful Life


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Post from Paradise

ForogBuddha I’m in Hawaii.

I came here with my cousin, who has meetings on Oahu this week. Over Christmas, she called and suggested we splurge: meet a few days early for some R and R before she had to enter the world of business. And after some deliberation (money, childcare, logistics), I said yes.

We spent three days at a place called the Zen Treehouse, on the windward side of Oahu in a town called Waimanalo. Our Zen Treehouse was quiet and calm and spacious, with sliding doors to little lanais (decks), a sitting area, a giant bathroom with a rain shower. We were steps from the beach. I got up every morning to do yoga and meditate on the back lanai. One day we drove up to the North Shore to see surfers, stopped for plate lunch and shave ice, then came back and grilled some fish for dinner. Other days we poked around “our beach,” and explored several others, too. The sand was like cornmeal, unmarred by even many shells, so different from the East and West coast beaches I’m used to. We went on two great hikes, and on both, saw humpback whales far off in the distance. On the North Shore, the whales were slapping their flukes against the water and breaching. I have always wanted to see whales!

I also snorkeled a bit, finished a page-turner novel, thought a lot, watched a movie, drank too much rum punch one night, slept badly, slept well, missed L and M, etcetera.

Yesterday we left the Zen Treehouse and headed for one of the massive corporate resorts that dot the Hawaii landscape. We’re in a huge room six floors up, overlooking a pool and a human-made lagoon where, yesterday, we paddleboarded and swam. My cousin’s meetings started this morning; this afternoon, we’re being taken out on a boat to snorkel with dolphins (or something). Later, there will be cocktails, dinner, and schmoozing by the pool. It all feels a little unreal, to have gone from the Zen Treehouse and plate lunch to this fancy sixth-floor room with Top-40 hits blasting from poolside.

IMG_0895When I go on vacation, my prevailing difficulty is the realization that it’s hard for me to relax. I wish it weren’t so. We’re contemplating doing an IVF cycle next month, and I thought how great it would be for me to take this trip before we walked down that road, so I could come back rested and calm. There have been many calming moments, to be sure–those whales inspired something in me, and my daily yoga and meditation has been a luxury I don’t always afford at home. It’s good to have a break from L. But on the other hand, I’ve felt a bit untethered without my boys to anchor me, without M’s steadiness and consistency.

I’m writing and working this morning; since Lou is in meetings, I figured I should use the time too. Later we’ll be wined and dined, and tomorrow, I’ll leave. I expect to feel that mix of feelings when you come home from vacation: sad the adventure is over, but happy to be home, too.

Many alohas, friends!

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