|Love & Light and everything bright...|
23 Jan 2011
Updated Apr 13 - adds A Whale of an Easter Weekend
FROM HAIKU, MAUI (HAWAII)
Yogi Trek to Buddhist Sanctuary
HAIKU, Maui, Apr 7 - Mirka was an unexpected yoga instructor.
"Who is Mirka?" I asked, thinking she was some or of a substitute for Jennifer, the regular Viniyoga teacher on Saturday mornings. But then I saw Jennifer taking the class.
"Oh, Mirka's great. You'll love her," said a woman as she was rolling out her mat next to me.
It turns out Mirka was Jennifer's teacher and mentor. She and her husband had reportedly invented this form of yoga (see www.mirkayoga.com). She had lived on Maui for a long time before moving to California last June. Now she was back for a couple of weeks, working as a guest instructor.
Many yoga instructors preach spirituality and then go on to conduct their a class like some sort of a gym sweat shop. Not Mirka. Her postures were slow-paced but deep. Each of them had a message for the soul and the heart, not just for the physical body. Afterward, I wrote a friend that Mirka was the first instructor of many whose classes I have taken over the years who truly integrated the physical and the spiritual aspects of yoga in a practice.
In a continuing string of "small world" example, it turns out that Mirka used to live on the same road as our new place, only a few hundred yards up the hill the Rainbow Shower.
After the class, Mirka announced that she would be leading a group of yogi "for a walk at 10 tomorrow" (Sunday). I asked her how long it would be. She said about 45 minutes.
"Count me in," I said.
The following morning, in a phone conversation with another friend, I discovered that the two of them knew each other. So in a true spirit of the Hummingbird, I invited this friend to come to the walk as well. She jumped at the chance, not having seen Mirka since she left for California last summer.
Well, the "45-minute walk" turned into a full-day outing... about two hours to drive to the place from where we started the hike. About a two hour-round trip hike, including a visit to a lovely Buddhist sanctuary ("Kagya Dheehen Hermitage"), a fire ceremony and meditation at the temple, and another two-hour or so return trip. We left the club shortly after 10AM. I did not get back home until 5PM.
And now, with that as a preamble, come along to the Buddhist sanctuary...
The trail started at about a 2,400 ft elevation, and ended at the sanctuary at about 3,100 ft. So it was a fairly easy hike, although occasionally steep and slippery (dusty) in places. The trailhead was at the southeastern part of Maui, with gorgeous views even on a mostly cloudy day. The vegetation was lush, as you can see from the above shots.
Right after the start of the trail, we met a "green cavalry," a cluster of trees that looked like horses (above right). Interestingly, a friend had just finished telling me a story involving horses before we came upon this scene. A "coincidence?" There is no such thing, as you all know by now from my past experiences.
There were parts of the trail that were forgettable, like these wrecks strewn by the side of the path. But what a view the wrecks had! Makes you want to join them. :-)
Occasionally, we paused for some yogi prayers and meditative messages (left). During one of them, we were asked to think of something joyful. I saw this massive rain cloud moving in (two middle shots). So my first impulse was to tell the Creator, "no rain, please." Staying dry would give me joy at the time. As we marched on, the cloud passed through us, over us, around us... but there was no rain.
I was walking with Mirka at the time. I told her that Inca shamans believe that you first manifest your destiny, then you live it. You don't wait to find out what your destiny is. You create it. It was in that spirit that I had asked for the rain to bypass us. And the Creator granted my wish.
When we got to the Buddhist sanctuary, Jeff (in pink shirt), the resident monk and the keeper of the grounds, welcomed us and made a nice little introductory speech (Mirka is standing next to him - in white shirt). The little flags you see fluttering in the wind in the left photo are the prayers. Like the Inca shamans, who send their prayers through the breath and fire, the Dharma Buddhists hang them out to the wind.
"They can be left to the elements, faded by sunlight, drenched by rain, while all the time unrelentingly offering their prayers to the seen and unseen worlds, until final decomposition," Jeff explains in a little pamphlet. "It is said that even the threads of cloth as they fall to the earth benefit the many sentient beings there."
As we headed up the hill toward a lovely "stupa" ("apucheto" in shamanic terms, or an altar in Christian jargon), it was starting to get misty, as you can see from the two left shots. "It's both misty and mystical," I said to a friend. Standing next to the stupa, Jeff gave us a brief lecture about the symbolism of Dharma Yoga as practiced in Tibet and India. Once again, I was struck by the similarities with the Inca cosmology, including the use of four elements (right). Jeff and I had a brief chat afterwards, and agreed to get together again and compare notes between these distant yet evidently closely related cultures ("probably connected with Lemuria," I told Jeff).
Similarities between the Inca and Tibetan cosmologies continued to manifest themselves when we offered our written prayers to the spirits in a fire ceremony (above shots).
We slowly trudged our way up the hill to the temple (two left shots) where we prayed and meditated for at least half an hour. We finished with some yoga stretches right on the lovely wooden floor of the temple. Then it was picture time."
Two photographers (Dean and I) took turns shooting and posing, which is why some of the above poses may seem repetitive. Finally, Mirka posed in a yogi lotus position (right).
On our way down, I took pictures of some lovely flowers on the sanctuary grounds, then stuck a couple of them in my Inca shaman's Machu Picchu hat, before posing myself (including the rainbow ribbon, if you look closely - middle).
On our way down the mountain, our knees took a beating on steep part, but our eyes and souls received the balm of beautiful views (left). About half way down, I was lucky to spot this gorgeous large lizard, beautifully camouflaged. I have never seen one with iridescent colors like that. A friend told me that they actually change colors. So if he is moving across brown dirt, for example, he would turn brown. Amazing, huh?
The final Sunday balm for the soul was this breathtaking sunset over Puu Kukui which I observed from my lanai (deck or veranda in mainland lingo). Doesn't that eucalyptus tree look as if it's on fire, as do the clouds?
The exquisite sunset was a fitting end to a wonderful Sunday full of unexpected twists and turns, as all great days are. Aloha!
HAIKU, Maui, Apr 10 - First, happy Good Friday to those of you who are celebrating Easter!
Second, Elizabeth arrived here on Wednesday night but not without a little scare. They Dallas-Maui flight experienced some hydraulic problems, so it was diverted to Los Angeles for an emergency landing. After a change of aircraft, they continued the trip and landed here three hours later than scheduled.
Here she is, arriving at her new home, a little tired but happy. I greeted her with flowers that I had picked from our property only about an hour or so earlier.
While I waited for Elizabeth to disembark, I noticed the sign that greets the new arrivals at the Kahului airport (left). It is a beautiful island, but I thought the sign was a little too pretentious. Anyway, back at the airport parking lot (middle left), Elizabeth was the first witness to my greatest achievement so far since arriving on Maui - the new license plates for my two cars.
When I get a chance, I will write a separate story about the hoops I had to jump through and people I had had to charm or cajole to make it happen (middle right shot was taken in front of the Pukalani DMV office, right after I had put the plate on). The far right shot was taken the day before, when I arrived home with a 10 ft PVC pipe to be used to mark one of the surveyor pins at our property. Finding those was my second greatest achievement, as you will also find out in due course.
Meanwhile, back at the Rainbow Shower on Wednesday night, you can see the new "la patrona" and "el patron" on their first night together at the new home (two left shots). Earlier that day, I had managed to assemble another computer desk out of a "thousand" parts (middle right). Finally, an accidental shot taken by my camera at the airport parking lot, which I discovered only after I had copied all pictures to the computer, revealed hundreds of mysterious orbs in the air around (right). They looked like a bunch of balloons celebrating Elizabeth's arrival to new home.
On Friday night, our friend and real estate agent who handled the sale of the Rainbow Shower took us out to dinner to a wonderful place in Maalaea Harbor.
Both the food and the ambiance were great at the "Waterfront" restaurant.
A week later, here's Elizabeth next to a giant Norfolk pine at the local arts school near Makawao (the Hui No'eau Art Center - which means "gathering of artists" - see Maui's Shower of Gifts on Blackjack Saturday, Mar 21, with my photo next to another giant tree there).
HAIKU, Maui, Apr 13 - Guess it would be fair to say that we had a whale of an Easter weekend. It started on Saturday morning with my trek to the bottom of the gulch with a native Hawaiian contractor who is supposed to help me build a path to open up the jungle. He huffed and panted his way back up the hill, mumbling something about quitting smoking for jobs like this. I laughed and added that there are some unexpected benefits that come from doing work in the jungle. I showed him the "heart tattoo" that the gulch had given me on one of my earlier clearing trips through the jungle (right).
We then took off for Kapalua Bay, a resort district at the westernmost tip of Maui. A friend had invited us to spend Saturday there at the Ritz Carlton where the Maui Arts Festival was being held this weekend. We stopped at the West Maui airport on our way to Kapalua from where one can enjoy pretty ocean and mountain views (above).
The day before, Roger, our friend, called me from the Ritz Carlton lobby and said, "I am looking at your damn mushroom." He was referring to a work from God's art gallery that I collected at the bottom of the gulch a few days earlier, when he and I went down there to look for some surveyor pins (right). And now we had a chance to see "my damn mushroom," too (left). It was a part of the native Hawaiian art collection on display throughout this beautiful hotel.
The lobby decorations included some gorgeous native flower arrangements and paintings. There was also a large areal photo there of the Kapalua Bay area (above right).
The views from our hotel room could have been made for postcards, except for the clouds that kept moving in and out.
As we visited various artist exhibits throughout the hotel, Elizabeth got instructions from some of the native artists about their craft. When we returned to the lobby, we found this group of seniors performing hula dances to the applause from the delighted crowd. The two oldest members of the ladies dance group were 88 and 89. So as you can see, it's never too late to start a new career, even if it is something as vigorous as dancing. :-)
Later on, we went out for a sunset walk to the beach and the peninsula in front of the hotel.
Roger, our friend, told us that when the construction for the Ritz Carlton began at this site, they discovered an ancient native Hawaiian burial ground. So they had to change the plans to move the hotel farther up the hill. Now that the sacred ground is protected by a circle of native shrubs and well marked so the visitors would not trample upon it. The site was certainly carefully chosen for the royal Hawaiians last resting point. It offers gorgeous views of the ocean and of the Molokai island across from Kapalua.
There are also some other trails that lead to sacred sites that were similarly marked as off limits to visitors (left). But when you turn around and look up the hill toward the Ritz Carlton hotel, you can also enjoy pretty mountain views (two right shots).
As we walked on toward the barren Kapalua Point, we came across a horizontal pine tree. What's a horizontal pine tree? Take a look at the two left shots.
The sun was getting lower by this point, offering a variety of pretty coastline views from the little peninsula. That's when my camera battery died, forcing me to take the final shot of the evening with my cell phone camera (right).
All the shots from now on were taken by Elizabeth with her own camera. That included this short video clip taken during our drive...
The weather in Lahaina was like night and day compared to that in Kapalua, even though the two places are only about five miles apart. It is one of the many interesting phenomena about Maui's micro climates. It can be raining in one place, while bright and sunny in another nearby locality. Also, you can several dozen changes of rain and sunshine in a single day. And quite often you can have both, sunshine with rain. Which is why they call Hawaii "the land of rainbows."
Even though it is late in the whale-watching season (Nov-Apr), it did not take us long to locate a trio - two adults and a calf, less than a mile off the coast from Lahaina harbor.
Elizabeth kept taking pictures of the whale watchers as well as whales...
... and of the pretty coastline around Lahaina and other floating whale watchers. Overall, we had seen six breaches, including the one that Elizabeth captured with her camera in the right shot. A breach is when a whale shoots up vertically out of the ocean, and then crashes back into the water on his back. One theory is that they do it so as to get rid of various parasites that attach themselves to their skin. Another is that they do it just for fun.
When Elizabeth took the left shot while I was talking to her, she probably did not expect to have herself as well as the whole boat reflected back in my glasses, like a mirror image (right).
After our sailing excursion, we picked an isolated shoreline on our way back from Lahaina where we frolicked on a semi-black sand beach for a while, before heading back to "the land of rainbows" where we live.
We also stopped for a little while at Hookipa Point to watch the surfers and windsurfers do their thing in the strong wind and occasional showers.
And that's all she wrote from this Whale of an Easter Weekend! :-)