Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dances with water

E-mail to Rod Wed Mar 14

After a relaxing brekkie chatting with a woman from Alaska who was returning home after working for 2 years in Haiti on an Aids program, I was going to head down to Uncle Robert's in Coconut Beach (note: incorrectly called Kalapana Beach in post about the market) but found that it didn't open til 5 so I headed down to Kehena beach.

view from the ridge above Kehena Beach
vines grow down the cliffside & kids
climb them Tarzan-like rather than take the rock path
It was much less crowded than on the previous Sundays and I recognized some people who must be regulars: the masseur and  the dolphin woman amongst them. Richard (Kalani's founder and amazing swimmer) dove into the surf wearing goggles and small swim fins and disappeared into the horizon before I could blink. I'm told goes out and swims for miles every day. 

I watched all this from my own perch where I lay for a while but soon the surf was calling me; I couldn't resist. Nice rollers were coming in and I swam out a bit and parallel to the beach. Afterwards I lay in the sun watching the dolphin lady riding the waves near to the rock outcropping. The masseur said that there's a kind of hydraulic effect that keeps you from crashing into the rock. So after studying what she was doing, when she got out I went in again and tried it. It was thrilling!!! Kinda felt like being tumbled in a big washing machine.

Beautiful sunny day at clothing-optional Kehena beach.
Bodies at the centre of pic give perspective
I had to head out for my Water Dance treatment (a version of Watsu) at Kalani but before heading out I chatted with the masseur and gave him my apple and some nuts that I'd taken to the beach but hadn't eaten. It was a small gesture of thanks for the massage he'd given me the other day.

Water dance - 90 minutes of massage in a heated pool shaded under a big tarp is a real trip. Surrender and go with it. The first 45 minutes your head's above water and you get so relaxed that your breathing slows right down. Perhaps the points and areas Sarah worked combined with the relaxation response to assist in the process. I was then given a nose plug and she signalled with 2 squeezes of my hand indicating when to inhale and then down she took me. Let the air out slowly and evenly and just hang out when done. Wave your hands I was told if I needed to come up. No hand waving was necessary as she timed everything perfectly. Had I sprouted gills? I could stay down indefinitely!  As agreed, towards the end, she took me down to the bottom of the pool and with my back resting on the bottom I hung out with Pele. 3 times I went down interspersed with above and underwater work in a seamless, so-o-o-o-o lovely celebration of freedom and joy. I could tell she was having a good time too as I was fearless, flexible, small and fun to work with. Sarah said that when she saw me she knew it would be a great session. We laughed and hugged for a long time afterwards. She said, "You should have seen your face when you came up at the end!" I couldn't stop smiling.

I had dinner with the Alaskan woman and then went to the open mic at the EMAX. The people here are impossibly lovely, gentle and talented. It's a haven for sensitive artist types. A tall, lythe young man wearing a loincloth and sparkles effortlessly danced with a hoola hoop. A newbie volunteer engaged the audience with her sensuous belly dance (I later found out that she owns her own studio on the mainland). Then a rapper, from the local community, did his thing with a positive spin, followed by a performance artist working with video, song and movement. A guy did 2 pop songs with guitar back up and another sang I'M IN A NEW YORK STATE OF MIND acapella substituting his own humorous lyrics. 

click on image to enlarge
I didn't get to swim with the manta rays the other night in Kona but a woman film maker presented her film on just that subject - pretty amazing synchronicity. So, I had a chance to get a taste of what I missed. And lastly there was a touching video tribute from an 18 month volunteer about his husband who died of Lou Gehrig's disease. The volunteer had come to Kalani to heal in a supportive environment. Stronger now, he is able to pass on loving support himself.

You can be yourself here. There are gays and straights of every flavour and everyone encourages, supports and abides in aloha. It is no wonder some stay for years. The longest I'd heard of was 10 years though one maintenance man talked about helping with setting up the halles which were brought over from the mainland and rebuilt on these grounds in the 80's. I can't think of anyplace more accepting and loving for gentle souls such as these where you drop mainland values and stresses and live a simple life in co-operation and co-creation with others of like mind.

Gotta go (it was about 2 a.m. on Thurs morning by the time I'd finished this letter). I've packed up and will be ready to head out tomorrow. I think I might explore Pahoa and/or Hilo before going to the airport. I'm on a hunt for the perfect Hawaiian shirt for you. The ones here are HUGE so I'm hopeful that there'll be a better selection in one of those towns.

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