When my friend announced she was getting married on a far-flung Pacific island, I simply knew I. HAD. TO. GO.
Despite spousal objections, it never mattered that I was dragging my nearly 2 year old on a 19 hour flight across ten time zones.
It was a trip I needed to make to connect with great friends and, most importantly, to re-connect with my own self.
As I’m de-stuffing my life, I am becoming increasingly aware that what drives me are connection and experiences rather than things.
On this journey in particular, I was fascinated to experience just how closely the mundane and the divine can coexist, if allowed.
At my friends’ wedding, I read from a book about Hawaiian shamanism. I casually prefaced this by saying that I was into woowoo stuff.
I guess woowoo is an unbecoming yet widely accepted term covering things that seem beyond the realm of our everyday experience.
I used to believe that my everyday and my, for lack of a less clichéd expression, enlightened experiences were just about lightyears apart. I was either doing the dishes or metaphorically meditating on a mountain with a banana up my bum. Realistically, of course, I was mostly doing the dishes, with a very occasional glimpse of the divine once I let the soap bubbles subside.
In hindsight, I believe this very division made it really difficult for me to gracefully transition into motherhood.
Somewhere along the line, I felt as though my life had become so much about the mundane and the routine that my soul-self was slowly being smothered and starved.
In once again pursuing my passion for travel, I have found the time and the space to allow the everyday and the soul-nurturing to co-exist.
A pre-dawn full moon walk followed by tucking into a hearty American breakfast of crispy bacon, scrambled eggs and pancakes (a ‘Full English’ has never tickled my taste buds in the same way).
Leaving the tourist commercialism of Waikiki to embark on a cleansing rainforest hike, only to come back to the question of ‘What’s for lunch?’ and needing to change a manky nappy.
Being magically guided to a traditional Hawaiian lomi lomi massage. I still don’t understand exactly what this is but it’s divine. The healer explained that this style of massage is working on a deeper level than simply manipulating muscles. She described it as
massaging your bones, which equals massaging your soul
In nearly the same breath, she also stated that all men are dumb, with the unsaid implication that this applied specifically to the ones we’re married to.
Swimming with giant sea turtles and feeling their ancient wisdom. It didn’t matter that there were dozens of other snorkelers splashing in the water. I simply loved being immersed in the experience as much as I loved sitting back on the catamaran with my feet hanging over the netting sailing the waves, glimpsing dolphins and flying fish, getting soaked and feeling the thrill and freedom of the ocean. With a boom box blaring in the background.
Of course for this experience, I am forever indebted to the newlywed Mrs Mannion watching my daughter so ‘mummy’ could just be Nette for a few hours.
In many ways, my entire journey was witness to this interplay and interchange between the mundane and the divine, the ordinary and extraordinary dimensions of life.
So maybe what really is woowoo is the importance we accord to the everyday-ness of our lives. The stress over projects and deadlines, the time wasted worrying and people-pleasing.
I say this even as I am observing myself getting obsessed with eradicating every single caked on, soaked in, glued-to-the-fibre stain from our combined holiday laundry. Including those that were probably there long before we set off.
So really, what do I know?
Maybe it’s just the jet lag talking…
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