try it on

CIMG0031I was very happy yesterday morning during the carpooling to work, as happy as I was on the outrigger canoe in Hawaii.  Hey, if one was to feel true happiness a couple of times a month, life isn’t too bad at all, is it?

My happy feelings came at a time when physically I was having a lot of discomforts due to first my neck pains, as my head fell off the pillow the night before, and then due to my severe lack of sleep, as I slept at 3 am again and had to get up at 7 for morning meetings. The external factor was not great either. It was a dark and gloomy morning in this normally sunny southern California.

But there I was, feeling a strong sense of happiness regardless.  The ever-wise J.J. suggested one time to me to try on an idea and see how it feels, like trying on a dress in a department store before buying it. I didn’t know that was exactly what I was doing. We were chatting somewhat aimlessly and somehow I envisaged a quiet life by the coast.  I could even smell the fresh sea air, feel the light ocean breeze on my skin and hear the sound of wave crashing at night outside of our bedroom windows. I saw a life where I could paint, write and do yoga every day.  A life where I could listen to music on the cliff by the sea or walk the coastline miles at a time.  When I tried that idea on, my heart started to open up and sing. That is what I really want, isn’t it?

outrigger canoeing

outriggerAloha!

Yesterday morning’s outrigger canoeing was the highlight of this trip, possibly the highlight of my year so far.

We made the plan very last minute. When we got to the site, the sun was not yet shining. However, the warm Hawaii ocean water was still very welcoming. There were 6 of us. A whole lot of people came and helped us putting the big canoe in the water.

I was a bit nervous, as I don’t swim well, but I didn’t let that show. Instead, I just announced it as a fact to make sure that I could be rescued quickly if we were to get into a situation.

Then off we went, into the picturesque sea. We saw many whales breaching and lobtailing in and out of water. The sun came out and one of my fellow rowers started singing/chanting Hawaiian traditional songs. It was perfection.

I sat on the outrigger with my body entirely out of the canoe when we stopped rowing to watch the whales. And I felt a tremendous amount of gratitude and happiness. It would be inconceivable for me to do this 15 years ago, let alone enjoying it. I grew from someone needed care from others constantly to an somewhat independent being who enjoy the company of people. I was proud of myself.

On the way back to shore, we stopped a few more times. At one spot someone jumped off the canoe to swim; at another stop we all just looked at the beautiful reefs through clear ocean water in awe.

It was early morning, and these days that annoying feeling always appeared in the morning. But yesterday morning my heart was all clear, with no gloomy thoughts of any kind. I loved that feeling.

Later at lunch, one of the rowers said to me that he spent the last two years focusing on meditation. He said that he realized through meditation that he was carrying a heavy burden from the past. He could still climb the mountain, but he would be so much lighter if he let it go. My little demon came back later in the day, and I wanted to find a way to let it go, to leave it behind in Hawaii. At least I tried.

Chinese new year

This Hawaiian native came into the yoga room, beaming with joy. He said “Happy Chinese New Year” to a few people in the room he knew, and apparently the morning had gone so well for him that he was excited about an auspicious new year.

I always wondered how people could be so happy, sometimes even with a little envy.

He came by and chatted with us, and told us about the Sun Yat Sen park and the history of the family with Hawaii.

Sun Yat Sen is a name known by all Chinese.  He was considered the father of the Republic of China and had led the revolution back in 1911 that brought down the two-thousand-year old imperial system.

While I was happy to learn about the Sun Yat Sen – Hawaii connection, it’s his brother’s story that I’d like to share.  Sun Yat Sen’s older brother Sun Mei was a successful merchant, and was the one who had supported Sun Yat Sen’s education.  Later, he had acquired massive land in Maui and was nicknamed King of Kula.  However, Sun Mei had to sell off his land piece by piece, then his business and finally to declare bankruptcy just to support his younger brother’s revolution in China. I wonder whether Sun Mei had done it out of the love for his younger brother, or out of his own political ideology. Probably both.  But standing beside Sun Yat Sen’s statue and looking at the vast land beneath my feet and the pacific ocean beyond, the land once belonged to Sun Mei, I couldn’t help feeling the love Sun Mei had for his brother.

Maybe one’s passion doesn’t have to be art, music, science or business, maybe one’s passion is the love of someone else, be it one’s children, lover or in this case a brother.

How to define a successful life? What to write on one’s tombstone? Here at the Sun Yet Sen park, where the world celebrates him as a courageous thinker and leader of his era, I give my respect to his brother.

Yet, would I be satisfied if my tombstone says “a good daughter and a loving wife”?  Most likely not, as I feel I need to be more than just that.

diamond crested sky

The flight to Hawaii was 6 hours.  There was a few pleasant and unpleasant incidents during the day, but nothing to write home about.  I was reasonably happy because I was in Hawaii.  One should feel happy in Hawaii, that’s just the ubiquitous belief.  But I wasn’t overjoyed because the mind was still stuck in California and the body was fairly tired due to lack of sleep.

But when I came back from dinner, one look at the sky changed everything.  The sky was dark and deep with shining stars like sprinkling of diamonds, so bright, so large and so close to me.  My heart was finally calm and I started to enjoy Hawaii.

With the window open and the ceiling fan on, I fell deep into oblivion.  The place was so quiet, that slight noise could be heard clearly in the soundless night.  There was no phone or TV on the premises, no air conditioner or other noisy electronics, however, there was a mini fridge in the room.  And that fridge became the biggest annoyance as it periodically started itself up to keep cool.  I seriously considered unplugging it during the night.  To be honest, it wasn’t a loud mini fridge.  It’s just under the otherwise quiescent environment, even a small sound stood out like thunder.

What did I learn from this? That is, one must be able to give up something to get something.   It is not possible to have everything at the same time, such as absolute quietness and modern convenience.  We can try to reduce the effect, such as to develop a soundless mini fridge in the future, but that’s not the point.  The base line expectation has to be low and realistic.  If we expect to give up certain things in order to achieve our destiny, we won’t feel deprived when we don’t get everything we desired.  And if we are lucky enough to get everything we desired, then what a wonderful life.

Author’s note: The utmost desire of yours truly for this blog is to write prolifically and therefore honing my writing skills through vigorous practices.  By the way, I really like the font of the notepad on iPad and believe it will be a motivating factor for me to write more.  There are, however, two burning questions as to the content. 1) Do I limit my writings to the inspirations or events happened the day before? and 2) Do I limit the topics to only “finding one’s passion and motivation”?  As you can see, these two questions are related.  Market commentators always do both, i.e. timely and restricted to the relevant topic.  But there are thousands of new information each day in the financial market for the writers to pick and choose, and quite limited in yours truly’s daily life.  It seems that I have to choose either being current, in which case this blog will simply be a public diary with no theme, or being boring, as some days I might have nothing clever to say about finding passion or motivation, but not choosing both.  Well, this is a topic to ponder in the future, as the blog is simply to new to change directions.