Calm is a state of mind — nothing more and nothing less, achievable when we choose to activate our intention.
But, of course, it’s MUCH easier said than done. We can simplify our lives by passing along the things which are no longer needed or loved, hopefully by recycling or thrifting instead of throwing away. Saying “No” to the intrusions filling our time that don’t provide enjoyment or service to others can also help us move in the desired direction. Or just doing our best to avoid excess — of any kind.
Many of us save up to go on vacation, hoping to catch some of that peaceful, easy feeling. Recently, I did just that, lucking out enough to tag along with my daughter’s family for not much more than my airfare and our car rental, plus food and gas. Any of us on our own probably would not have been able to afford this trip to Maui. I had no idea things were that expensive there!
The island itself is quite beautiful and serene, once you get past the high-rise hotels and touristy shopping outlets. The beaches, mountains and waterfalls are such a treat to all the senses.
One must slow down on The Road to Hana, even if the route itself wasn’t loaded with such extreme twists and turns. Practically nonstop we were rewarded with views of spectacular waterfalls cascading over rock cliffs right next to the road. Or rainbow eucalyptus trees reaching skyward through the rain forest. And the stunning coastline down below, caught in glimpses through breaks in the lush greenery.
The four-mile Pipiwai Trail took us through incredibly different ecozones, including under a huge Banyan tree, alongside streams and waterfalls, and winding through a bamboo forest. A couple days later we hiked another four miles on the Waihee Ridge Trail where we climbed up into the clouds. The kids got a kick out of “eating clouds” up on top.
And who would have expected little 3-year-old Zoe to walk both trails herself, when she must have taken at least twice as many steps as the rest of us, and we were tired! Those were awesome days.
With warm tropical days accompanying the “Hang Loose” mantra, my body finally unclenched from bearing up to the unseasonably cold weather we’ve been experiencing here. I was only gone a week, but it recharged my batteries enough to hopefully be able to glide more successfully into spring.
We’ve been fortunate this year to receive the much-needed rains to sustain our surroundings and fill the aquifers. And, I must admit, with everything so green and lovely now, it’s much easier to smile and be gracious and keep that Aloha spirit alive within me.
However, the segment of time between leaving the island and arriving here I felt my calm escaping. The turbulence on the flight back was the worst I’d ever experienced. White knuckles on the armrests continued on and off for the entire trip. The opposite of calm.
I concentrated on my breathing and focused on the idea that I’ve lived a good life and if it’s really my time to go then so be it. Both my breathing and this mantra played in a repetitive loop during those hours on the plane.
These kinds of things are reminders that I still have a lot of work to do on remaining focused on my “calming intention.” More belly breathing and meditation during peaceful as well as stressful situations. So — I’ll set my sights to not give in so easily, and rein in the escaping calm at least more of the time. And I challenge us all to create more success in this endeavor.
Chi Varnado has six published books: “The Old House in the Country,” women’s fiction; three YA novels in The Dance Centre Presents series; her memoir, “A CANYON TRILOGY: Life Before, During and After the Cedar Fire”; and a children’s book, “The Tale of Broken Tail.” These are available on www.amazon.com. Her collection of essays, Quail Mutterings, can be found on www.chivarnado.com