So this post is far overdue, but many people were wondering about my vipassana in Hawaii over December and into New Years 2014. Well….I didn’t actually go, so I cannot share the experience. But what I can share may be far more interesting and relevant to some of the folks who read this.
I packed my minimal bag and things I needed for the vipassana, boarded a plane in LA and landed in Honolulu, a 6 hour journey and roughly 2,500 miles. After a 4 hour layover, I noticed ominous dark clouds emerging from the west. After experiencing a massive Hawaiian thunderstorm for 5 hours, my flight was delayed until the next morning to the Big Island, which officially made me very very late for the vipassana.
Upon emailing the director of the program to let him know that I was going to be late, he plainly and simply told me, “It’s not your time, we’ve already begun the vipassana, so please reschedule another time and arrive early so this doesn’t happen again.”
I was beyond shocked. As someone who’s used to coaxing and persuading individuals to generally make things go as I plan for, this was a massive spiritual slap in the face. I had flown over 2,500 miles to partkae in a deep spiritual growth opportunity, only to be “screwed over” by mother nature and her random bouts of tempestuousness.
So at that point, there are two routes to take. Either rage and be angry, or recognize that there are larger factors at work, and perhaps this was the universe’s way of telling me that I should in fact be elsewhere. So I began thinking about all of the other places I could be…and home kept coming up again and again and again.
Looking back at my life as an only child, recognizing that my parents spent their entire lives giving as much attention, or as much space as I needed in my life. Knowing that at holiday time, when society suggests that we’re all “supposed” to be together, I was planning to be deep in the jungle, forming a stronger bond with my soul (which is in fact a worthy activity). But what about the bond with my co-creators? Had I been neglecting it?
I realized that my parents, who called me when I was in Hawaii to ask how I was, really missed me. I heard it in their voice. I felt it in their tones. I decided to put myself in their shoes – having to go to events at their friends houses, with all of their friends kids, talking about god knows what – and recognized that it was probably incredibly hard for them not having me around. They are wonderful individuals who have sacrificed far far too much for me. Sometimes I think about the time when I’ll have kids and wonder if it’s even remotely possible for me to be able to give as much of myself to my kids as my parents did for me. Only time will tell.
So I decided to honor my parents and give selflessly to them as they had done for me thousands of times. I flew 6 hrs back to LA…changed my clothes, re-boarded a plane heading to Boston 2 hrs later. In 36 hrs I’d traveled 11,000 miles , traversed 9 time zones and made one or two stark realizations about the power of the universe and our roles here. And when I got home, I knew it was exactly where I was supposed to be…in Swampscott, MA, with two of the happiest and most wonderful parents on the planet.
Funny what a little rain can do?