Archive | July, 2010

Oregon – a Conversation

30 Jul

Can I be honest with you today?  Will you indulge me a little?  You’ve been good enough to come on this journey with me so far, and I wanted to tell you a little of some of the reasons why I’m doing what I’m doing.  Because maybe I’ve not given you the whole story so far….and in particular you may be asking the question… “Why Oregon?”

Well, this adventure plays to so many of my personal values: I took a look recently at what’s important to me and came up with this list:

  • Love & Compassion
  • Adventure
  • Freedom
  • Joy & Fun
  • Learning and Growth
  • Spirituality
  • Health & Vitality
  • Achievement & Success
  • Peace
  • Wealth and Prosperity
  • Courage
  • Truth and Integrity

So maybe some of those are obvious – how this supports my love of adventure, freedom, joy & fun, achievement, learning, growth, courage… but what about the rest?

For those of you who know me well, it makes so much sense that I would want to go off and do this – and yet there is something deeper going on.  You see, for me this is a real voyage of self discovery – an opportunity to really understand who I am, and why I am here.  The last couple of weeks have been very significant in preparing the ground for that, and I’ve shared a couple of those stories with you.

There are four big questions that we all need to answer.

  • Who am I?
  • Where am I?
  • Why am I where I am?
  • What am I going to do about where I am?

I’m beginning to see answers to those questions… and I promise I will share them at some point.  But I think that most of you know that I am deeply, deeply motivated by something else – call it love, call it compassion, call it God, call it what you will – but enough of you have been kind enough to notice that there is something ‘different’ about me.

So one of the reasons for me being over in the US was to do the Huna workshop.  The other was to attend a retreat with Neale Donald Walsch.  I’ve attended his retreats in the UK a couple of times – and I know that some of you reading this are friends I’ve made on those retreats (you know who you are!)

I have a feeling, though, that this event will be very significant in my life, and will be another part in the major shift around who I am, and what my reason for being here is.  And I mean here on this planet, by the way – here living this life.

Neale is the author of the Conversations With God books – probably the books that have made the most sense to me about life, about God, about the world we live in.  You could do a lot worse than read ‘Conversations with God’ or ‘Happier than God’.  Borrow it out of the library.  Go into Waterstones and read it there.  Or not, it’s entirely up to you.  For many people, including some very influential world leaders, it has been very important.  It may well resonate with you too.

I have not seen many people deal with a room of people with such compassion and such insight – with such understanding of what’s going on for them.

Yet today I have been particularly moved – firstly by em claire’s reading of her poem ‘Shine’ which I have published before


God says for me to tell You This:

nothing needs fixing;

everything desires



You were made to bend

so that you could find

all of the many miracles at your feet.

You were made to stretch

so that you would discover,

your own beautiful face of Heaven

just above

all that you think you must shoulder.

When I appeal to God to speak to me,

I’m feeling just as small and alone as you might feel.

But this is when, for no particular reason at all,

I begin to


For various reasons, that poem meant more to me today than ever before – as I said to em on the way out – “I came here to hear you read that poem.  I can go home now”.

But the reason we are all here is simply to become the next grandest version of the greatest vision of who we are.  We are, each of us, an individuation of Divinity, an expression of God – an opportunity for God’s nature to be expressed on earth.  And the time that we will feel that the most clearly is when we are giving to others.  So life is not about how much money we make, or how influential we are, or even how much fun we have – although all those things are important – life is about how much we give.

And so I find myself challenged – how much can I give to others while I am travelling… and how much can I bring back to allow me to be even more compassionate, even more caring, even more inspiring.

I have much to think about in order to answer the question “Why Am I Here?”


Lahaina Noon

29 Jul

Forgot to mention this when it happened – but Hawaii is the only state in the US to experience a moment where there is no shadow…

On one day each May and another each July, the sun is directly overhead on the major islands of the Hawaiian chain. These two days are called Lahaina Noon, and occur on different dates and times, depending on the latitude.
As the sun moves northward from the Equator toward the Tropic of Cancer, it passes directly overhead at all latitudes in between. When it reaches the Tropic of Cancer on June 22, the farthest north it will appear overhead each year, it is the Summer Solstice. On its return trip south, it will again pass overhead.
Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that experiences Lahaina Noon because of its location within the tropics (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn). This event had no name until 1990 when Honolulu’s Bishop Museum Planetarium sponsored a naming contest. The winning entry: “Lahaina Noon” in Hawaiian means, “Cruel Sun.” Every location has its own time for local noon and Lahaina Noon.

Maui – Day 4 – The Highway to Hana – Hey, no hurling on the shell, dude, ok? Just waxed it.

29 Jul

A long day today – the free tour left at 8:30 to tackle the highway to Hana.  This drive is, if not single lane, at least single lane bridges, really, really slow, really, really scary (depending on your driver (ours was driving, singing and operating the MP3 player)) and really, totally, incredibly beautiful.  The road winds round half way up the mountain, leading to James Bond hairpin curves across lush gulleys and over waterfalls.

We stopped off at Wai’anapanapa Park, swimming at Pa’iloablack sand  beach.  Nearby is the cave where the princess and her attendant were killed by her jealous husband as she fled his cruelty – every year the water in the cave turns red in her memory.  Or it might be the shrimp… you choose.  The first of many leaps into the waters started here – a mere 4′ leap into the pool below, which, despite being heated by magma, was damn chilly.

No blood today

And on to (as if by contrast) Kaihalulu red sand beach… by way of a 30′ leap into the sea below.  Well, the jump was optional, but since everyone else was doing it…

We found another pool to leap into – not so tempting since it was full of leaves… but it’s got to be done… although I am now limping from cutting my foot on the way in.  And I should point out that lava comes in two forms pahoehoe (nice and smooth) and ‘a’a (rough and rocky.  Here, it’s mostly ‘a’a, and my feet, which used to be rock hard from karate training, aren’t what they used to be!

And then on to Haleakala State Park and a hike up into the mountains through ‘Ohe’o Gulch.  We walked through banyan trees (which Matt nearly fell out of when the branch he was swinging from broke – I swear our tour guide is a gorilla) and then through tall bamboo forests that almost shut out the light… and to the end of our trek, the stunning and ethereal Waimoku falls.  Rather than leaping into the water this time, we opted to stand under it.  More on that rather profound experience in

And then the long and winding route back, packed 15 into a mini van.  Mind you, I felt sorry for the four in the back of a pickup truck… especially when it rained.

A long, and probably perfect day….. Maui is stunningly beautiful, really laid back and diverse.  I didn’t make it to most of East Maui.  I didn’t make it to the summit of Haleakala volcano.  So I might be back one day…

Maui – Day 3 – ‘Iao Park

29 Jul

One of the good things about the Banana Bungalow Hostel (apart from the fact that they are really nice people, if a little crazy, and the cool cats) is that they run free tours.  So today we leapt into a couple of vans and took a trip up to ‘Ilao Park a few minutes away from the hostel.

Our tour guide, Matt, took us up barefoot (him, not us).  He took this photo while holding 20 cameras when all of us wanted a picture at the top.

We started out at the heritage park, commemorating Hawaii’s cultural heritage.  The park has a Filipino home, a Japanese temple, a Polynesian home and more – it’s also a bit of a peace garden – remember that after Pearl Harbor the part of the US population of Japanese origin were herded into concentration camps.

Then, after leaping over a barrier, we took the hike up the mountain.  We were confronted with the foul smelling noni fruit (think gorgonzola only worse) as well as waterfalls of stunning beauty.  I managed to bounce my head of various tree branches – which at least alerted the girl behind me to their presence.  Wailuku means ‘Damned Waters’ – a huge battle there left so many bodies that the waters overflowed.  It’s actually a very fertile region because of the four rivers that flow there.  The valley is actually created by erosion of the volcanic crater.  At the top, a harder rock has been left as a pinnacle, said to be the phallic representation of Kanaloa, Hawaiian god of the ocean. The peak, known as Kuka`emoku, is the secret burial place of many of the ancient Hawai’ian kings (the kings would be buried in anonymous and hidden graves.  Unlucky for those chosen to bury them, as they were often killed so they couldn’t reveal their whereabouts.

A quiet afternoon in the coffee shop catching up with some stuff….


Pono – effectiveness is the measure of truth

Kahuna (keepers of the huna principles) have a saying ‘if it works, it’s Huna’.  So if we do something and it works, then that is a measure of its effectiveness.  Cause and effect isn’t quite the same out here…. And also, we truly measure something is true or not by how well it works.  If it doesn’t work it isn’t true – at least at that moment.

And a bonus thought.  The word ‘Aloha’ is used for both ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ in Hawai’ian.  Its deeper meaning is ‘love’.  But the root ‘alo’ means both ‘to be present with’ and ‘to be with’ – so our love is based on how we are present with one another – how much attention we pay each other.  Food for thought….

Maui – Day 2 (Wailaku) – eating it up Hawai’ian style

27 Jul

I thought I might mention Hawai’ian culture and food here…

There’s a lot of lovely seafood and all the American staples… historically they would eat a lot of poi (mashed taro, which for them is a spiritual staple.  And very purple).  They also used to farm yams.  The traditional diet was greatly changed by the arrival of westerners and then the immigration of the Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Polynesians to work in the sugar cane fields.

There are some oddities though – for example the high incidence of SPAM based meals including Spam Musubi (apparently the best is in Nagasako Okazu-ya).  Fortunately, as a vegetarian I don’t need to test it.

I came across the local free paper – which, incredibly, has a 3D ‘Best of Maui’ edition this week.  Reading it without the glasses makes me feel as if I’ve had a bad night out on the town.

I could go and see the stage version of ‘The Wedding Singer’ at the local theatre… or attend a traditional leiau with lots of hula, drums and more.  And, before you ask – no, I have not been tempted to dance the hula…. although those of you who are expecting male equivalent to have lots of swaying might find it compares more to the Maori Haka

Some more Huna

Mana – all power comes from within

So, the universe is infinite.  Which means that all its power is at every point…. including you.  They might even go so far as to consider that if the world is a dream, then the only place power CAN be is inside you. You do, in fact, have all the power you need to achieve whatever you want.  And what’s more, no-one has power over you.  No-one can make you unhappy, no-one can make you feel small, no-one can do anything to your internal world – unless you choose for them to.  So, let your power out today.  Speak with confidence, act with authority – energize the power that is within you.

Maui – Day 2 – Saw the whole thing, dude. First you were all like “whoa”, and we were like “whoa”, and you were like “whoa…”

26 Jul

First full day in Maui… set off for the beach and got sidetracked by New Hope church in Wailaku.  Great service, really very different from the UK.  We even broke in the middle for breakfast.  Now THAT’S what I call ‘breaking bread’.

It turns out that the hostel is in the shadow of two huge volcanic peaks of Maui Komohana, often wreathed in cloud and the occasional rainfall…

Once I finally got going, hopped a couple of buses to the old whaling town of Lahaina in search of sea and the beach.

Unfortunately, due to a huge planning error I had forgotten my goggles.  So I just had to hire instead (what, miss an opportunity?). Had a wonderful half hour watching the fish on the reef while trying to avoid getting dive bombed by kids jumping off the cliff.  Once I’d tired of that I sat around on the beach for a bit, soaking up a few rays, before deciding to have one last swim before heading home.  Which was one of the best decisions EVER.  Was just testing out how fast I could swim in flippers when I had to throw the swim into reverse as I nearly collided with two majestic honu, the green sea turtle.

Last time I’d met one of these guys the water was murky and I lost him pretty quickly.. but this time the water was clear and we swam together for at least half an hour, just swimming around, following, .. I just felt incredible calm and at peace…as if I was in the presence of something incredibly old and wise, a being that was completely at peace being itself.  Eventually I had to tear myself away from the connection with my new friends and return my snorkel…

And to end what seemed like a perfect day, dinner (yes, my budget includes one dinner out a week!) as the sun went down over the harbour at Aloha Mixed Plates (a tradition from the days when the Polynesians, Chinese, Japanese and anyone else who was around shared their lunch… although it’s now settled down into rice, macaroni salad and protein of some form.

A mad dash to catch the last bus to Wailuku… and time to write this.

PS in case you were wondering… the quote is from ‘Finding Nemo’ – Crush the turtle commenting on Marlin’s escapade with the jellyfish (apparently there were some portuguese men’o’war in the area but fortunately not on my bit of beach!


Aloha – Love is to be happy with.

There are so many applications of this – but really, all of our reactions come out of only two places – love, or fear.  When we come from love we move forward, we open up, we expand.  When we come from fear we close up, contract.  It’s our choice whether we love what is happening – accept it, allow it, rather than fight it.  Our huna teacher has a saying ‘Everything is Working Out Perfectly’ (EWOP)…

And so with people – do we choose to be happy with who someone is, or do we look for the things that are ‘wrong’.  It’s been demonstrated that rather than criticising what’s wrong (or give feedback on what didn’t go right), if we praise what people get right then they do more of that… and less of the rest.

And since our ku (unconscious mind, if you like) doesn’t know the difference between an external event and an internal event, then it tends to take all criticism personally anyway.  So why not spread a little more ‘aloha’ around today??

Maui – Day 1

25 Jul

So, it’s aloha ‘oe to Hawaii (ahoui hou kakou), and aloha to Maui.  I’m staying in Banana Bungalow in Kahului – towering over us are the twin volcanic peaks of Mauna Kahalawai… so after walking in to town, getting a very distant glimpse of endangered birds, and catching a bit of the local reggae festival… I’m off to bed!

(and, on the upside, I’ve got a new charger cable for my phone!)

Huna – Day 5 and graduation

24 Jul

Final day, and a final very cool session on the way we integrate and work with the spiritual world.

Serge Kahili King teaching

Lots of hugs, and a few photos on Jen’s Mustang that the three musketeers had been tooling around town in.

Tim, Jen, and Pete…. and the musketeermobile

And then off back to Hilo, where the Hilo Bay Hostel was welcoming and friendly… and I took in a movie for a dollar at the local cinema.

Tomorrow I leave Hawai’i for Maui.  It’s been an amazing, wonderful couple of weeks with incredible sights and experiences, some truly incredible learnings, where I made some wonderful new friends, and experienced the energy held within a volcanic island at first hand.  Wow.

MANAWA – Now is the moment of power

In Hawai’i, there are no words for past or future.  The future is ‘the thing that is happening hasn’t happened yet’ (or something like that… and the past is ‘the thing that is happening that isn’t happening any more’.  And if you think about it – there is no past, there is no future.  The only thing we can experience is right now.  The only moment we have any control over is right now.  The past is gone… we can learn from it, but we can’t change it.  The future isn’t here – we can plan for it but we cannot experience it.  So let’s live NOW, enjoy NOW, and enjoy our power NOW.

Huna – Day 4

24 Jul

I wasn’t too impressed with day 3 of the Huna event – but day 4 was great.

We took a ride down to the hot pools in Ahalanui Park.  These hot pools are fed by volcanic activity, and despite the sea continually splashing into the pool, it stays a nice toasty temperature.  We were focussing on our relationship to wind and to water – observing the patterns in wind and in water, and seeing what we can learn from them – how the approach of wind, and the approach of water, can be used in different situations.

I spent a lot of time just staring out to see, enjoying the waves, and the wind, and feeling completely close to the elements as the wind wrapped itself around me.

We also took a few minutes to visit Lava Tree Park – where the lava rushed through so swiftly that the trees didn’t have time to burn, but the lava took the form of the tree that it consumed.  I’m not sure if I was so much impressed by that as the incredible tree canopy though

And then we drove down to the lava fields.  The last time we went, all the security was gone home and tucked up in bed – and we got really close.  This time, we couldn’t really get near the lava – but what amazed us were the buildings, set up on the old lava field.  I guess they’re hoping lightning won’t strike in the same place twice.  I wouldn’t guarantee Pele will be that kind.

Sorry, bad picture in poor light – but I had to put it in.  A way away is a property where the lava from the previous eruption has flowed round and spared the property – there are many of these spots across the island where the lava never flows no matter how many times it erupts.

Huna principle 3

MAKIA – Energy goes where attention flows

If you think about it, that’s true at a very simple level – when we focus on something, then we find that things happen around it.  At a metaphysical level, then the more that we focus on something, the more the strange and wonderful happens around it.

In the evening

Huna – Day 3

24 Jul

Half day today… and a visit to Pana’ewa rainforest zoo. Met a gecko.. and a lemur…and the white tiger

Took a kinda chilled afternoon in Hilo bay though, did a bit of shopping and bought lots of tiki carvings for Jen’s workshop business in Costa Rica – in, of all places, Walmart.  Sometimes the world surprises me.

Note to the careful reader.  This is a large tiki.  The Wal-Mart ones are MUCH smaller

And now for some more Huna..

KALA -There are no limits, everything is possible

In Huna, everything is possible.  The universe is infinite, and anything could happen.  It may not be necessarily ‘easy’ but it’s certainly possible.  If you think about it, if the universe is infinite, then you must be at the centre of it.  And everywhere else, of course, but certainly at the centre of it.  So, how much power does that give you?

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