When I was a single mom beginning to date again, I noticed that men would start out very kind and enthusiastic but as time went on they would change, or reveal their less appealing qualities.
I decided I wasn’t going to fall for it again.
Naturally, when I started dating my husband I was cautious.
The first month was exciting and fun. I felt giddy, bubbly, and started to notice the potential of falling in love. He was romantic, gentlemanly, generous, talented, smart, responsible, capable, attentive, and very interested in me. We talked about values, life, past relationships, and family. We both decided to introduce our kids from previous marriages to each other and began to attend celebrations and family events together.
But even with all of this, I was still nervous. I was terrified that the other shoe would drop and I would find out who he really was underneath all the positive qualities. I asked myself if I was missing the signs. The potential for relationship failure again kept me in fear.
6 months into our relationship, he invited me to Maui for my birthday. He had been taking UC students there from the programs he ran in previous years. The last time I had gone was when I did my Lomilomi training 10 years before. I let him plan everything. It was a stretch outside my comfort level not knowing where exactly we would be staying and what we would be doing but I decided to spend the next week in Hawaii with this amazing man and his inspired heart.
When we landed in Maui, we were exhausted and hungry. All I wanted was a good meal and a nice bed. Instead, he had planned a picnic and a hike. I was in no mood for a hike. I was grumpy and resistant, but I went along.
He drove us to an amazing canyon with a moderate hike along a river. We stopped to picnic beside a set of small falls cascading over smooth rocks and I exhaled. The humidity was getting to me so when a light rain shower started all I could do was look up to the lush mountains around us and the blue sky above us and smile. I surrendered. Gratitude filled my senses and I let go of my expectations. Here I was with this sweet man I was falling more and more in love with in this paradise he’d brought me to. What was I to complain about?
From there we camped in places I’d never been before near beaches and lava beds. We had a wonderful dinner overlooking the ocean that night where our drinks had cute little umbrellas on them and he put an orchid flower in my hair. My resistance was melting. My joy was spilling over.
We hiked through bamboo forests, swam with a sea turtle who gave us a very friendly greeting, swung on a swing below the rainbow eucalyptus, dove into ocean coves, sat under palm trees under the moonlight, and explored beach caves over the next few days. We drove the crazy road to Hana with a box full of wild fruits, some of which I’d never seen before.
By evening on the 4th day, I was ready for dinner, tired and hungry…again. This time there was no solution for my aggravation. As the sun was setting and I stewed in my discomfort waiting to see where the next turn would take us, a barn owl flew across the front of our jeep. Ah, that was a good sign. It was the same owl I had tattooed on my back inspired by my last visit to Maui.
We camped somewhere desolate with no bathrooms or stores, very few people and prickly thorns all around the tent and pathways. Dinner was the fruit and few provisions we had brought without preparation. I had a few tears fall that evening, feeling out of control of my circumstances. I slept restlessly.
The next morning I was grumpy. We got moving and low and behold after a few miles down the road we came upon civilization! Not just people and a bathroom with a flushing toilet, but a winery! With fancy bathrooms and beautiful lush grounds and wine tasting…. A smile on my face I sauntered down the path to relieve myself in luxury. Across the street was a market with lilikoi pie and all sorts of local foods. It was then I could recall that I was indeed in paradise. Funny thing about the winery is that I later found out that one of the founders was a family from Calistoga, in Napa county, where my friends and I had been tasting and visiting for years!
The next synchronicity came when we pulled up to our final destination, the retreat center with a farm where he and his students had worked. This happened to be the same retreat center I had done my Lomilomi training 10 years before! We stayed in one of the more romantic accommodations away from the community areas with privacy and views of the canyons behind the grounds. The same canyon where the owl flew through as we sang the morning chant that verified my Hawaiian name, Pueo Hulunui, the great winged owl. Hence the tattoo. It all felt very affirming. We spent our last two days together in our sanctuary napping, sharing meals, reading, soaking and talking.
When we arrived back in California, driving up to his place in the Santa Cruz mountains, a barn owl flew in front of our car through the trees going up the windy road. We both inhaled and exchanged smiles. Another good sign.
It was a good beginning to the second half of our first year together, surrendering to the story that would reveal itself as the year ended with our engagement the following fall. But that’s another story…
The Hawaii trip taught me that not everything is as it seems and that often our pasts cloud our potential futures. Doing the inner work, finding community, and opening ourselves up to possibility creates more light and love than we could have ever imagined.
In these uncertain times, I invite you to surrender yourself to a story that has yet to reveal itself to you… Check out our upcoming events: