The sun is peeking through the dappled jungle green, the family is still sleeping tucked into a cozy bundle of human and fur, and I’ve been quietly sipping coffee and contemplating turning 42 today.
It wasn’t that long ago that I was contemplating turning 40.
We’d just arrived on the island, and it felt like a nice solid number to build a new foundation on. I remember sitting by the ocean down in Kapaa the evening before July 27, 2017; thinking about how remarkable it was that I had actualized my dream of coming to the island.
Since we just passed our 2-year island anniversary, I’ve also been thinking a great deal about all that’s transpired these past 48 months:
How I thought things would be living over here and how they actually are.
Who I was then and who I am now: how I’ve changed, stretched and grown.
The unexpected struggles and hardships that have occurred, and the beautiful and magical things that have occurred as well.
Earlier this week I wrote a piece where I likened Kauai to the Mr. Miyagi of islands.
You come to her, eager to learn, thinking that you’re ready for the next step. Then she puts you to work making you learn how to wax on and wax off for so long that you begin to wonder exactly what you’re doing here, if you’ve made a mistake coming to her, and where exactly it’s all leading and going.
But something else that I have learned on this island is that the soul of Mother Kauai is one of a Master Healer, Teacher and Empath.
And like any good Yoda-Master-Teacher, she only gives you what you need to know in that particular moment. She knows greater wisdom comes with patience, skill and time and learning to turn inwards. And she will reflect back to you what is brightest in you, what is darkest in you, and offer you the opportunity for deeper integration, self-exploration, and self-awareness.
These past couple years have felt like I signed up for another tour of duty with the heart of the universe. It sounds naive as I write these words, but I thought the true test of faith was saying goodbye to my long-term life in Alaska and getting to the island.
I didn’t think things would go perfectly when I got over here, but I did expect that things would settle down and coalesce after the first 3-6 months.
Instead it’s been a material and spiritual roller coaster of ups, and downs, and surprising corkscrews, which you never see coming.
The other day I was having breakfast with my Dad, and I joked to him that these past 2 years made me feel like an ancient character in a Dickens novel. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” I said to him.
Dad laughed, then said with a note of kind gravity, “You gave up everything to be over here BethAnne. Not many people would do that.”
The sun is now muggy and full. My earlier reverie broken when the household woke up, and I took Frodo out for his morning walk along the windy country roads of our neighborhood.
It feels extra hot and sticky out, still and paused, with whispers of gently swishing clouds that hint at a new breeze on the cusp of breaking through. Cooling things down and sweeping clean any leaves or debris that are ready to let go.
It’s a poignant metaphor for the last two years.
I did give up everything to come to this island. Home, job, income, security. Old identity, familiar friendships, familiar patterns, familiar anything. We lost our beloved sweet old Samwise the first year we were here. Even my marriage has been shaken up, and shook out, and freshly ironed into a new shape and season.
All those happenings were pieces I wasn’t expecting: an ongoing massive onslaught of change, which has been emotionally and psychological overwhelming at times.
There’s been a lot of soul searching and questioning of my heart path in these moments. A lot of moments of reckoning where I’ve come face to face with myself, always with the same question: Well, my dear girl, what do you really believe? Because I’ve begun to see that is what it comes down to. Belief.
Either I believe I’m following my heart and the calling of my soul and that spirit will support me on the deeper, invisible path of the self.
Or I don’t.
And if I choose to believe, then I can rest assured, trust, and know it’s all leading me in the direction I want to go… even when it doesn’t look like it.
Such simple words to write, such hard words to live. But those moments of reckoning and wrestling with our truth are also where purification, consecration, and revelation happen.
What I see now- that I couldn’t see two years ago (or even 6 months ago)- is that just because I deconstructed the physical structures of my old life in order to get to Kauai, doesn’t mean the deconstruction process was over.
I moved the exterior elements of my life, but I now know the universe had deeper plans for my interior.
Old beliefs, old values, old ways of being, have all been slowly blown away. Replaced by something new and different.
More allowing, less forcing. More trusting, less having to know. More unfolding, less expectation. Angelic presence, spiritual growth, and a deepening of intuition. A few other things that I can’t quite put words to yet, because I’m still understanding them myself as I experience my own unfolding process.
That’s the thing about a new breeze- you won’t know where it’s blowing you until you arrive. And sometimes, though the answers may still feel far away, we are closer than we think. All it takes is one gust to travel us to our next step.
For today, my next step will be up the familiar red dirt trails of the Sleeping Giant, because despite the heat, we’ve decided to go hiking then go in search of the ocean and cupcakes.
And other than that, I’m allowing the day to be whatever it will be; having learned these last 2 years that I’m both the shaper and the shapee.
We lay our life’s groundwork as best we can, then trust spirit’s winds to meet us in that space and help us understand and rearrange the composition of our own change.
Knowing that we will be guided, gusted, and grown exactly in the direction our souls are meant to be shaped.