Thursday, December 30, 2010


Peace, a state of tranquility or stillness, is what I am feeling now. To be truthful I feel like there are still a dozen things that I need to get done, but really on the whole they are not that pressing, I am only missing myself-diagnosed deadlines and no one else's.

Currently I am sitting in Nashville, the city I has called home for eight years and said good-bye to this August when I started graduate school in New Jersey. I have a mug of hot chocolate which has been a frequent companion of mine this wintery season. I have already had a full two days since I rolled into town. I love how it just seems so easy to reappear here as if I haven't even left. Driving around town a bit more I do notice changes, new stores there, a building torn down here and other consturuction everywhere else. Seeing these changes hurts a little because it is the evidence that life keeps moving forward with or without you.

Today, I spent the afternoon with one of my dear young friends who I have loved and cared for since she was eight. We took a walk down the street and to the school on the corner. The day was beautiful for December, sunny and warmer than it should be. We skipped and jumped and looked at leaves and nuts on the ground. My favorite is spinning in circles and I would sing to her and she just smiles and sometimes covers her ears when I am a little off.

I was catching up on one blog that I am attempting to follow and there was an entry on being childlike and today I felt like I did a good job of that, more so than maybe I have been since leaving. I knew it in my heart and thought what a great joy to skip and jump with someone who loves it just as much and doesn't care what others who pass by are thinking.

Here is a segment from Leo and his blog that stuck out to me:

Consider: as children, we are naturally imaginative, curious, able to play without a worry in our minds. Some qualities of young children that happen naturally:
  • they live in the present
  • they have no concerns about money, productivity, or being cool
  • there are no limits to their imagination, except what they’ve been exposed to
  • they play and lose themselves in play
  • they create with abandon
  • they are endlessly curious, and ask questions … without end
  • they love showing off to their parents

I hope to have many more moments to express childlike joy, there is freedom in letting yourself go.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Picture happy

Fog on this morning's run. I could feel it on my face as if I was running through the produce section at the grocer's or a butterfly house. I was stopped by a gentleman that I had seen last week. We walked and talked for about a half mile. It disrupted my run but I didn't mind. He's living off disability in some apartments where Cheryl said there have been a few homicides. This man is waiting for a settlement check from his former apartment complex where a faulty handrail lead to his being disabled.

For my birthday (over a month and a half ago) Erin gave me an iTunes gift card, the second I have ever received. I just used that thing and bought the Hipstamatic app for my phone, which I love love love! Here are some pics I took over the weekend.

I think I found my fireplace at Jersey Java. I've been wanting to find somewhere with a good fireplace that was in use! We have one at the house but it's been cemented in so it mocks me, looking inviting but in no way will it be holding a fire. There was also cool lighting inside too.

Tomorrow I am proud to say that I will be reporting for work at D.U.E. Season Charter School. I will be helping with the after school tutoring. It's not much money but since my work study has still failed to finalize and I just don't have the time or authority to make it happen, I had to look elsewhere. Here's to adventure tomorrow!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Calm before the storm

It's November 11th and Veteran's Day, which means my internship office is closed and I am having a mini-holiday right now. I made it through mid-terms without too much stress. I did however have to run to one class with my just printed mid-term clutched in my hands in order to make it to class on time. I don't want to do that again! I made good grades on them all so I am relatively pleased with myself. Long ago I abandoned my ability to get all A's, for the most part no matter how hard I try it just doesn't happen. So I am thrilled to be getting the A's I have seen and the few B's sprinkled in along the way. I have reconfirmed to myself that I am not a scholar, I just don't get excited about reading and discovering a certain topic. Maybe you could say I once was about the American fast food and food systems, but not as much any more. I am just not one to spout off knowledge about the things I know or believe. I recently felt ashamed when my favorite professor asked me what I was passionate about (trying to get me to focus my research paper) and all I wanted to say was nothing. I know if my dad reads this he can tell me "told ya so" at Christmas, sorry. I am seeing this degree as more as a means to a better job than any other overarching self fulfillment type situation, though I will be proud of myself when this is all said and done.

The end of this semester is approaching and I have two small papers and two large papers left to do. Not so bad except that research eats up a lot of time. One paper is my choosing (that passion one) and I guess I have settled on international cattle trade/industry. Can't say I am super excited or that I have discovered anything really new. It's similar to the American system just in other countries that are poorer. The one for budgeting is this long thing looking at budgets in various states. I picked Georgia. Not super thrilled about this one but it's gotta get done.

Well, that's the state of affairs concerning school right now. I've felt absurdly at peace the past few days even though I know there is more work I should be doing. By the time I get home from class at 9pm I just don't want to do any more work. That will have to change soon even if I don't feel like it.

Last weekend I ran a 10k over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and around Camden. It was fun, though doing it by yourself isn't really fun. There were over 4,000 other people with me but I didn't know any of them. They had run out of my shirt size but they gave everyone a medal at the end, which made up for it. I wore the thing the rest of that day.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tumble, jumble, another year

My bike and the Ben Franklin
All that is left
Lori watching the fireworks after our visit to the symphony

I am writing from Boston, MA after a long and harrowing car trip. It started off with me rear-ending probably the nicest guy out there. At one point he told me that he was sorry, maybe that was due to the fact that I mentioned it was my birthday yesterday, but you know... It wasn't a bad accident. He was stopped and I moved to the gas before looking again to make sure he had already gone, whoops! I am just now coming to terms with the fact that maybe I shouldn't drive anymore. I am just not careful enough on the road. I want to get where I am going as soon as I can with the lest amount of resistance. If I can make it through this year then I won't have to worry about a car for two years.

Oh, and my bike got stolen in Philadelphia last Saturday. I biked over the Ben Franklin bridge to see Lori and spend the night. Biking in Philly was a little much for me since it was the biggest city that I had tried to maneuver in before. There were a few times that I needed to be turning down a certain street, but me physically trying to get there would be a death sentence. So I went in a few large circles. I didn't die though and I eventually found Lori's place after stopping and getting some final directions from her roommate. The bike got stolen near the Italian Market and what kills me is that it was totally my oversight. I didn't lock the thing up right and we were gone for maybe 45mins and that's all it took. Just my front wheel and lock left. I felt terrible because Lori had to push her bike around for the rest of the afternoon. I almost had a breakthrough when the police called on Thursday saying they were so sure they had my bike. I jumped in the car and drove over to the station, but alas it wasn't mine. I was ok with it not being my bike simply because the cops called me, they were looking for my bike. Also, when I said it wasn't mine they seemed so crushed. I was happy enough that the system was working for me when I though it would just over look me.

Let's talk about water ice. I had never heard of such a thing before landing in Camden. It's flavored ice with custard or soft serve underneath or in layers. I was skeptical at first because I didn't want it to be like a snow cone or Italian ice. If my words can convince you in anyway, it's not like either of those two treats. Water ice is amazing! I have been twice and the first time I got chocolate water ice and coffee soft serve. So good! Pretty soon water ice shops will close down for the fall/winter.

Also, there is an endless pool at school. You know, it has one of those machines in it that produces a current that you swim against. There's a crank where you can speed it up or slow it down. The weird part is that there is a mirror in the bottom of the pool angled up to face you. That freaked me out big time. In fact it took two rounds of swimming in the pool before I got over the fact of having to watch myself swim. I guess I could try it with my eyes closed but that seems weird to me. I can say that the mirror has helped to correct my stroke, I don't look like some spaz now and I feel like I could LOOK like I would pass for the Olympics. I also can't help thinking that the mirror makes me look as if I am trying to swim away from some terrible monster that is trying to get me.

Oh and it was my birthday on Thursday so now I am 28. So far I don't feel any different. Normally I don't, but when I turned 20 I felt weird not saying something-teen. My house was kind enough to make me strawberry shortcake, tater-tots and green beans on request. They also served me this delightful food on a happy birthday plate and I drank from a happy birthday mug. So Happy Birthday to me, let the next year keep plodding along.

Philly mural, coffee break and almond-chocolate chip muffin mix

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

We do things different

My mom was in the bathroom when I heard a gasp. Crap, I thought, maybe she saw a roach or even worse a mouse! "What's wrong?" I asked. "Your sink, it's not finished." Oh, was that it? "Yeah." "Well, is it going to get finished any time soon?" "No...we use the gray water from it." "Oh" she said, sounding less than pleased.

Yes, the water from the sink in my bathroom goes straight into a bucket underneath. Once the level in the bucket reaches a certain height the water is used to flush the toilet. That means we don't flush every time we use the facilities. That might be gross to some, but I had some practice at Gabe's house this summer and at Polestar. We are also encouraged to use less water while showering. This could take the form of bucket washing, where you fill a bucket of water up and use a little cup to wet yourself and rinse (I have not made it to this level yet). In the third floor shower (the shower I use) we turn the water off while soaping up and then back on for the final rise. Not sure if I will be able to pull this off in winter, I have a fear of freezing in place. There used to be a bucket in the shower that would capture water while we were waiting for it to get warm, but the bucket has since disappeared and I haven't gone looking for it yet.

There are laundry lines outside of the house in the backyard and also zig-zagging across the front sitting room. These are used to dry clothes after washing (obviously). There is a dryer here at the house, but it is more energy efficient to use the lines. I think drying my clothes outside is actually faster than in the machine. I haven't officially timed it yet so don't quote me, I don't want to be held liable. It certainly makes my clothes crispy though. There should be a campaign to put softener in the air so that my clothes are softer when they dry outside, thus undoing the environmental benefits of air drying my clothes!

What else do we do different (from the average house hold)? We compost our vegetation scraps (and egg shells and the nectar of the gods, coffee). Our composter is a deep freeze, not my first choice but I guess it works. Dealing with the composter is not my chore and I have no motivation (as of right now) to rally everyone to change the composting device. Our produce comes from the local farmers market (I was informed two weeks ago that most of the produce is not organic, sigh) and our dairy (well not the yogurt) is also local. Ah yes, we drink raw milk (sorry parents). So far it hasn't killed me, but if that's what does me in I'll make sure you all know. I did promise my mom as she was leaving after Labor Day Weekend that, "cross my heart I would not die, I would fight for life." That was mainly in reference to the seedy company that sits outside our front steps most of the day drinking and doing drugs. Back to the food, we hardly have any packaged food (mostly the sauces and condiments and the yogurt) and we make our own tortillas. Oh, there's no air conditioning, which is no longer an issue, but there is heat (praise God). We take our shoes off at the door to cut down on dirt in the house. So not a bad way of living really. The only thing I would do different is save less stuff, there is a lot of miscellaneous items around the place that I am sure could find a better home.

On a side note, I am missing Nashville like crazy. I miss my friends, church, places I would go. I don't regret moving here or choosing to go to school, I just wish I could have both. In the end I know moving here is right and a good change for me. I just haven't had the need to feel homesick and so of course it's a shock to my system. As always I also struggle with the fact that I have no money. My biggest complaint that I dealt with this summer and continue now is why does it cost money to be friends with people? I was thinking about it this morning some more. In your adult life entertainment focuses around things that cost money - let's go out to eat, how about a movie, what about that show tonight? When I was a child you just played in the back yard, watched a movie at home or played a board game. Why can't we as adults do that now? Suggest something like that and eventually you are labeled as boring. It's not that I don't want to go out and do things (I love to! Let's have another cup of coffee), it's just that I can't, especially not three times a week (at a minimum). I am kina excited that Lori now lives over in Philly and has no job. So now I have someone I can be cheap with. I have to figure out how to ride my bike across to the other side. That is my near future goal.

PS: Read this article it made me sad...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What's in a name?

While my computer and phone (the glorious iPhone4 is causing problems, who knew!!) are syncing I thought it would be a good time for Internet diversion, so here's an update!

I have successfully been to all my classes once! The week was a little chopped up because of Labor Day Weekend, but now it is full steam ahead! I can confirm my previous thoughts that this masters' degree thing is going to be a lot of work. I think mainly a lot of reading. Using my time wisely will definitely be something I will have to keep my finger on! Not only do I have class, but my program requires an internship and I have signed up for work study. Some how they will all fit in, like clowns in a car. I think I'll be setting my alarm clock soon. I haven't had to yet because all of my classes are in the afternoon or at night.

Here are my classes:

Fundamentals of Policy Analysis
Law and Public Policy
Public Budgeting and Finance
International Community Development
International Economic Development

At first glance I think I'm going to like all of my classes, ask me again when I have to start writings papers and taking tests. Each professor is likable, but with their own set of quirks. Take today's professor, suit and tie but wearing crocks. I told him that I LOVED his shoe choice for today's outfit. He was ecstatic and I gave a big grin, glad to make his day! If I had to choose now, I think the finance and economic development classes might be my favorite. I am thankful that I do not have class on Friday, because that will give me a good day for getting work done, that is if I'm not at my internship or work study.

I have my first meeting with my potential internship this Friday. The organization is Cramer Hill CDC. Yeah, my heart skipped a beat when I heard CDC too! Unfortunately it's not a branch of the Centers for Disease Control, but it actually stands for Community Development Corporation. The Cramer Hill CDC "is dedicated to building a thriving, safe, family-oriented community that is economically and culturally diverse. Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation believes that development is most successful when there is continuous input from residents." Cramer Hill is a neighborhood of Camden that is North East of campus. I was matched up with this group based on my interest in community gardens and the environment. When I called and spoke with the director he told me that there were four areas that were targeted as places for me to help out. The director seems like he's gotten a lot done for Cramer Hill and I am excited to see what he has in mind. Before our meeting I need to read more of their site so I can be informed about the organization!

One great thing about my program is that I get along with all the other students. We are already talking about hanging out when we aren't in class. There is a total of nine (3 males and 6 females) of us that will be going to class together and then onto an international service after a year of classes. We have all the same classes together, but each of our classes have at least three people, if not more, from another program. I think this is a good thing because it will bring some diversity to class.

Well folks it seems like the phone is still acting sick. Looks like I will have to visit the Apple store soon. I would have posted some cool picture (I wanted to write about the endless pool and the gym here or about the house I am living in) but I just learned that restoring your iPhone means deleting all the data from last time you synced :-( Good-bye pictures. I will take new ones soon...some I won't be able to recreate (so if I sent you one feel free to send it back to me!). For now I've put a picture of my view from one of the windows in my room. It's Wednesday and the week is more than half way through, happy it's-almost-the-weekend-again!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Waiting to connect

I have always been terrible about writing and that's why blogging has always been difficult for me. I would much rather spend my time reading, who wants to read about my life anyway, why take the time to write it out? And I agonize over writing, making sure I choose the right words. Am in the correct tense? Wondering if I sound too passive.... I also want order to things, making sure I cover certain topics in the correct order that they occurred. Well, today I am saying screw that! This is all in an effort to make sure I write again, period, because according to my mental calendar I should have written at least three other entries by now and this one isn't even on the books. So, let's go!

Eight hundred and eight. That's how many miles I drove on Monday, August 23rd. According to google maps the drive should have taken me 13 hours and 26 minutes. I think I hit that somewhere in there. My destination was Camden, NJ. According to Wikipedia, Camden suffers from urban dysfunction. I like how that is put, it makes it sound more pleasant. Granted I really don't think Camden is as scary as everyone who I know from Philly makes it sound, but the city is not a bustling center of growth. There are people who do not do anything all day except sit on our front steps (well they aren't suppose to). When I feel lead, I am suppose to ask them to please find some where else to sit.

As I keep that in mind, I have moved onto other things, like combating the resident mice population. Right now there is debate on how many there are, but I am convinced that this is the last one! My project of completely cleaning and organizing the kitchen is almost done and I hope that this sends a message that mice are no longer welcome! The kitchen is just the start of what I hope becomes a whole sweep of cleaning and throwing out things in the house. It's hard when dozens and dozens of people have come and gone through those doors the past seven years.

Why did I move to Camden? The obvious reason is for school, I am sure as time unfolds there maybe other reasons that reveal themselves. Oh and school starts tomorrow. It still feels very imaginary (just like getting on a plane to HI was a month ago). I am sure it will begin to feel very real very soon... I will be attending Rutgers University and pursuing a Masters in Public Administration focusing on International Development. I will end my year of classes in the Peace Corps. So there you have it folks...the next three years of my life as far as I can see it, but for right now I am going to help water the empty lot next door. When I was here in June we planted flowers in it to make it look nicer. Then I am going to run over (yes really RUN) to my first yoga class at my new studio - Yogawood. Wish me luck and positive thoughts!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hawaii in Review

Well, I've been back from Hawaii for over a week now and I just finished compiling my pictures from the camera and iPhone. I have a couple hundred and unfortunately not all of them are located on the Internet for viewing, but here are a few sites where you can find the ones I have posted:

My Flickr


Though I was there during a 30% drought you would have fooled me! I still cannot get over how lush and green the landscape was and almost every night it rained like crazy. I guess Hawaii is used to even more rain. I am a little glad that it held off during my visit. I love the fact that I could walk out and eat avocados, pineapples, papayas, mangoes and bananas from the surrounding gardens. The lettuce for the salads I ate were also from the nearby gardens.

found Polestar through WWOOF - World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. I was excited to do some farming again and Katherine was interested in the yoga aspect of the community. When you WWOOF, you agree to work in exchange for a place to stay and maybe a few other things depending on the farm. All of the meals at Polestar are included for a minimal cost and there are a handful of sights to see nearby for entertainment and exploration. Let's just say that the "farming" was not as intensive as the farming I had done at Arugula's Star, more like gardening. Mainly I made sure the greenhouse was well watered and then there was a lot of weeding to do, specifically near some pineapples and in the lower vegetable garden.

On Wednesday nights we would have a community kirtan, a time of chanting and song. I went to two different kitans while I was there and the service reminded me of church, a time for worship and meditation. The kirtans hosted at Polestar are always followed by a community potluck, it's a great time to meet other people who live on the island.

Swimming was almost a daily activity. After my first full day of work, I was introduced to the warm ponds, which were heated from beneath the ground by volcanic activity. This swimming hole was a popular place for locals to unwind at the end of the day. One of the most picturesque swimming areas was called champagne ponds. A wonderful lady named Radiance, took Katherine and I to these ponds, along with her dog. You can never get enough swimming in Hawaii.

I also got to visit Volcano National State Park. At the park you could see the volcano that produces lava which still flows beneath the island's surface. As I walked along the trail I could see steam rising from cracks in the ground. The trail leads towards a preserved lava tube. This was a tunnel in the ground that the lava originally traveled through. The tube is cave-like, but it is also tall and I could not imagine that at one point the whole space had been filled with quick flowing lava. I was able to go closer to one of the larger volcanic openings and stand in one of the steam vents. It was so hot that I could only stand there for a few seconds. It felt like being in the sauna at the gym but smelled of earth and sulfur.

The highlight of my Hawaii experience was our early morning hike to see the lava flow. The hike was early enough to see the sunrise, which was beautiful! I got some great pictures. I could see the steam rising from the ocean water as I moved nearer and nearer. The lava was flowing underground and breaking out right near the water's surface. Since the lava was so HOT and the water was cold, a large amount of steam was created when the lava hit the water. Being that close to lava made me realize how much power and wonder there is in the earth. It started misting rain as we were heading back and a rainbow formed, which provided another picture taking opportunity.

Every weekend we would go to various markets. There was one called Space, which was run by acrobatic performers. Hilo also had a big farmer and craft market on Saturdays. In the end I think I made three visits to the one in Pahoa. All the markets had fresh produce, prepared food and handmade collectibles. My favorite vendor was Filthy Farmgirl Soap.

There were still so many adventures, from snorkeling, biking into town, hitch hiking after dark, and cliff diving. My last afternoon I finally caught a glimpse of a sea turtle which was one thing I was still hoping to do.

I loved my time in Hawaii and had a hard time leaving. I hope to make it back one day and see other islands. I am thankful for all the wonderful people I met and how well we functioned as a group. I say good-bye to Hawaii until another time and hello to Camden, NJ where my future awaits!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cast of Characters

Polestar is a communal living experience, which means every one living and visiting Polestar lives in the same general area. Right now there is an anomaly due to the fact that there are many more people here than they normally have visiting at one time and it's all very random. There are ten of us who are visiting and throw in the ones who live here year round and our number is fifteen! Normally at any other time there may be only three to four people visiting. About half of the visitors are staying for a month and the rest of us for two weeks. Also, no one new is coming for about two weeks, so the group of people that are here is a unique preserved group, getting to experience each other on a much fuller level.

Not only do we live in close quarters, but we also eat every meal together and most mornings we work on a group project together. For example, this morning we worked on riding the land of some invasive plant life that is taking over the wooded area. There is also a rotating schedule of who cooks meals and cleans up after meals. All of these experiences will be good practice for my upcoming year of living in community.

At Polestar you can choose to sleep inside, there are two private rooms and one larger room that has four beds, or outside in covered tent rows. Katherine and I started inside, but we have now moved out to a large tent. I think we both wanted to mix in a little camp feeling to our stay. I am glad we moved out, it's a little more peaceful.

Here is a run down of just a few of the personalities here (names have been with-held):

The Renaissance Man: Call him "Captain" as he prefers, this man has done it all! We here at Polestar are trying to get him to tell us enough stories so we can write his biography. So far I've heard the story where he delivers his daughter's third child, waged war on the open sea as a captain of a ship and at one point worked as a fully licenced and practiced masseuse! I am sure there is much more to learn from his life. The Captain resides in his motor home wherever it takes him which is currently Phoenix.

The Pregnant Couple: This couple wins the award for most adorable, not only are they British, but they are also expecting. She is quite the cook and has made lunch for us twice so far (today was butternut squash soup) and he wears the best hats and has the greatest facial expressions. They both bring a light to the house and a giving nature that is beautiful to behold.

Medicine Man: He is our wise food health man, letting us know the benefits of eating whole foods and drinking water, which we all need to be reminded of on a daily basis. Macrobiotics is his game and let me tell you the night he cooked for us was amazing, a feast in fact. He works at a macrobiotic food clinic and is working towards starting his own health and food counseling business. In a former life he owned a few salons and did hair styling himself.

The Couple Who is Not Pregnant and is VERY Smart: He will be starting on his PhD at MIT (wow) and she just finished her Masters in Library Science. They are also a very cute and well-suited couple. I hope all the best for them as they start a new life outside of Boston, moving from Allentown, PA.

Book Cover: Do not judge him by his cover. At first you may not think he is the outdoors type, but you would be wrong. Traveling alone, he is a pioneer and now a machete welding fool, watch out! Just like the rest of us, he's chosen an a-typical way to take a break from normal life. He is the deep sea swimmer and has no fear when it comes to picking up things from the bottom of the ocean, such as a HUGE sea slug.

The Residents: What a band of individuals who call this place home...there is the Russian who is bubbly and has a deep love for flowing lava. She is here until she can figure out what she wants to do in life, which so far has almost been a year. Then there is the studious agriculturist, who I feel practically runs the place. He's putting down roots by starting community college here in two weeks. He also loves to cut the grass. One of the more long time residents reminds me of a nature loving Mary Poppins, guiding us along. She is also the master gardener here and a midwife. She helps to weave all of us together in harmony.

That is just a run down of a few of the people here and some of the things I have learned about them. I am sure there are more stories to come. With a crew like this how could there not be?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lessons Learned

This week I have learned how God provides for my daily need before I am even needy. It amazes me how I will read his word and then those are the words that sustain me through the day.

I am working through a book called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, which was suggested to me by a friend. So far it's been great and I am so glad she pushed me to bring it on my trip! The book is broken up into small, daily devotionals. August 2nd, the day I traveled to Hawaii, the book talked about sacrificing time and taking the time to sit quietly in his presence. I have daily opportunities to do so on this trip and I have been taking advantage of those moments!

For you make him most blessed forever; you make him joyful with your presence. Psalm 21:6

Being here at Polestar, has given me the opportunity to see what my daily life can be like when it is centered upon Christ. Though the members here do not share my exact view on spirituality, I have relied on God to show me ways that I can still use the time given me to worship and honor him.

One magnificently huge lesson that I am reminded of this week and will continue to work through my entire life is the power that words posses. That next day, Jesus Calling spoke to that very situation.

There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Proverbs 12:18 and Ephesians 4:29

God reminds me of my daily, hourly need of him. All I can really do is say help, help me to speak less and when I do let it be words that glorify you and build up your children.

These are just a couple of the things that God has reminded me of these past few days. Here in Hawaii there is also the daily reminder of God's beauty in the earth and how he daily provides for the land and my physical needs. The land here is so gorgeous and awe inspiring. He provides daily rains which keeps the land lush and the fruits plenty. There is also great power in the fire of the lava and the heat that rises through the water. You can see the endless galaxies every night in the sky above.

Recently I have had the opportunity to see lava as it flows out from its heated center into the raging waves of the ocean. What a great experience, to feel the power and heat and watch the steam rise as the lava hits the waves. The power of the lava is amazing and frightening as the same time, just like the love of the Father. I have also walked to where the lava starts at the volcano. Though, the lava that is flowing now travels mostly underground towards the ocean, I jumped at the opportunity to go see the volcano where it all begins. There was a great amount of steam that was rising from the area. The steam was very warm and kinda smelled like ramen noodles. I've swam in the ocean three times now, in a heated pool, a crystal clear cove and at a calm entrance to a rough area of waves down the coast.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Flow

Namaste and aloha from Hilo, Hawaii! This is my second full day at Polestar and I am so glad that I followed Katherine here, really though she didn't have to twist my arm. Though not your normal vacation, coming to Polestar is right up my alley. It is a community house that is a spiritual and yoga retreat.

My days have been as follows:

Wake 5:45am

Yoga 6:00am: This takes place in the temple starting with energizing movements and breathing. Following that is yoga (not quite as vigorous as I look for but still good for early mornings) and the morning hour ends with meditation. I normally skip out of meditation half way through in order to run for 20 to 30 minutes. I plan on sitting through all of meditation at least one morning a week and maybe even two.

Breakfast 7:30am (vegetarian meals made by individuals on a rotating cooking shift)

Circle Time 8:10am: The conch sell is blown and we all gather in a circle in front of the house. We have a reading and a time of affirmation. Then tasks for the day are assigned. The past two days Katerine and I have worked outside in the gardens - watering and weeding. Working out in the soil really makes me feel at peace and just delight in my surroundings.

Meditation 12:15

Lunch 12:30: Normally after lunch people have free time till 2pm. I've spent this time reading in the hammock mostly. My first day I attempted to hike to the ocean and never made it because I didn't realize it was so far away. I did find alot of papaya groves and a few horse farms.

Free time 3:30pm: After 3:30 people are free to do what they would like. Today I did some more exercises and read and then showered.

Dinner 6:30pm: We eat our meals together and since there is an unusually high number of guests right now there are certain people who cook the various meals. Last night we went to the hot springs and had a cook out because it was some one's birthday. We ended the night with music and dancing. Every Wednesday night is community night. We had a church/meditation type service and then a potluck afterward. People from the community came and participated.

Bed time 9:30pm: By 9:30 most people are getting ready for bed and it becomes a time of quiet. Which everyone agrees to since our day starts so early.

This is the flow of the days here at Polestar, the format that I choose to live out as my vacation. I cannot wait to do the things that await us - the planetarium and lava hike. Katherine and I hope to bike into town maybe on Sunday.

I believe that the two weeks I will be spending here is just the right amount of time...a perfect time to learn new practices and change the pace of life that I have left. This is a time to prepare for the new pace of life that awaits me.