Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Walking Meditation in Kauai

Last week I attended an amazing meditation retreat led by Kristin Kirk in Kauai. During the retreat there was much discussion about stilling the mind and listening to one's inner voice. The idea is that when the mind is still one can be open to what arises from within. This process can take place during meditation but can also be applied when one is going about the daily business of life.

Being a diligent student I decided to try and apply this idea early one morning when I took a walk. The house we rented was on a cliff overlooking the ocean and to get to the beach you had to take a ten minute walk down through the woods and around a rocky bluff. I decided to bring my camera and let my inner voice guide me.

As I started off down the path I was thinking, "Did I bring my extra battery? Did I bring my water bottle? I hope I have enough time before I have to be back for meditation." I then realized that I was in my usual state...thinking and rushing. So I took a few breaths, slowed down, and tried to clear my mind of thoughts. As I was walking I let myself be led by whatever caught my attention. If a colorful leaf caught my eye I would stop and take its picture...allowing myself to spend as much or as little time as I felt. If I spent 30 seconds or 5 minutes it was OK.

As I continued walking I kept myself open to whatever appeared. Eventually I rounded the rocky bluff and the rocks gave way to a beautiful beach. I took my shoes off and waded into the water.

When I looked down I spied a brown object in the water and as I approached I couldn't believe my eyes. Lying there in the water was a white spotted sea cucumber! I don't know why but I have always loved sea cucumbers and even made a 12 ft. sculpture of one some years ago. Discovering that little guy (or girl) filled me with joy and I felt so happy to have stumbled upon him.

After spending some time with the sea cucumber I felt the urge to keep walking and eventually came to the rocks on the other side of the beach. I put my shoes back on and continued onto the rocks photographing little pools of water and the incredible texture of the rocks.

I continued on and my attention kept going to a large rock a few feet above my head. At that point my mind popped in and told me I'd better be turning around in order to make it back in time. But the urge to climb up was strong so I proceeded to work my way up to the rock.

When I pulled myself up and onto the rock a breathtaking clearing with an amazing view of the ocean revealed itself. I walked to the end of the clearing feeling like I was on the end of the world. When I got to the edge I announced to the ocean and Kauai, "It's time to wake up!" And in that very second the sun emerged over the ridge and beamed down upon me.

As the sun warmed my face I completely relaxed into the moment and felt truly present. As I stood there tears streamed down my face and I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. I had received a great gift and it is one I will never forget.


Margot Madison Creative said...


Christina Wald said...

I love the little sea cucumber!

Jodi Christiansen said...

Your photos are magnificent and your journey divine!

amy bogard said...

Oh Vanessa, this tale!!!!! THIS!!!!! Wow. such a journey. Such a gift!!!!

Jessica Jones said...

Howdy, Vanessa, I'm just catching up. This sounds fantastically refreshing. So wonderful!

Cathy Nason said...

Brings me back to the beauty of our journey together, much love.

kelley said...

Thank you, dear! Priceless!