The space in between.

A week to write away from every day life, and to do it in Maui is a real gift.  As I write this week takes me some time to quiet my mind from all that has been happening at home.  Citizens often forget that elected leaders also have feelings, can hurt and feel pain like all humans.  Often times that hurt is the suffering of the community.  We become vessels which carry the collective desire and fear.  Of course there is great joy as well.  There is an expectation of strength and of being able to resist and repel the muck and delight in the joy and success — to take nothing personally.  Easy to say and harder to practice.

Political life is not easy and yet it may not need to be hard either.  I’m learning to be with my feelings but also be able to observe them.  I’m learning to empathize deeply with my fellow citizens and yet be able to allow them to be with their own feelings.

this week I find it difficult to get past some of what I consider to be my own shortcomings in working with the community.  Sometimes my best is still not good enough.  I need to reconsider self compassion and so on Wednesday of this week I take some time to find a ‘fellow traveller’.  I search the internet for a yoga practitioner with experience in multiple areas.  I find Maire.  She and I arrange to meet at Grandma’s coffee house just past Kula on the road to Haleakala. It’s a bit of synchronicity since it’s one of the places on Maui that I enjoy the most.

As a pull up to the shop a few minutes late, I see Marie’s beautiful round Irish face pressed up against screen door looking for me.  I instantly recognize her even though she looks nothing like the photograph on the webpage.  Big smiles all around and the first thing we do is hug and say hello again.  It very much feeling like a reunion.

Inside we sit in one of the old wooden booths and talk about my writing and the direction it’s taking.  I conversation is very much about understanding self compassion and forgiveness.  We talk about how it’s impossible to work in community healing without first learning to be kind and compassionate towards oneself.

The coffee house heats up, and even though we are by a window which Marie as wedged open as much as possible, beads of sweat form on her brow.  It’s one of the drawbacks to having a full head of hair.  I’m grateful at the moment to be bald.  The conversation moves to dealing with conflict and it’s then suggest the time is right to be outside.

There is something about thinking and walking that works.  It’s as if the repetition of putting one foot in front of the other creates a rhythm and opens up space for understanding and dialogue.  Conversation never moves too quickly or slowly when I’m walking. Conflict is not a topic one wants to discuss sitting down.

Silver Cloud (2004)We walk along Thompson Road toward Oprah’s Maui home, toward a place formerly called Silver Cloud.  When Terry and I visited Maui for the first time, this is the road that we biked up.  I took pictures and later painted a piece in lieu of rent for the accommodations that were so graciously provided by some good friends.

Marie and I talk deeply about conflict.  I share that I avoid conflict and believe that there are better ways of arriving a good outcomes than having to deal with conflict.  However, we both agree that sometimes it simply can not be avoided.  It’s part of our humanity.  She invites me to consider conflict as a gift — something that I haven’t thoroughly considered in that context.  I spend some time in the afternoon and evening reflecting and seeing the usefulness of the question… ‘What if we consider conflict as a gift, where does that take us?’

The next day I have a chance to visit again.  This time we talk about art, about form and shape, and the nature of relationships between things.  I share how it’s not the edges of a form that give an object shape but the space around the form itself.  We do yoga under the clouds.  It’s an inspiring time.  I take all of that with me into my solitude as I sit and write this morning.

It’s been a brilliant time to be able to dedicate space and energy toward writing about something that I feel so passionate.  This space in Maui and this little condo has been a gift to me in the creative process.  It’s given me time and enough ‘white space’ for my ideas to flow out onto the page and for me to make connection with the universe.  What’s more is that there is some sort of organization that is beginning to appear in the work.  The form is appearing as a result of allowing the space around it to be.

I am not trying to write a book.  I am writing a book.


2 Replies to “The space in between.”

  1. Profound, Paul. Thinking about conflict as a gift is refreshing. I must muse some more on this.

    People like Marie turn up at just the right time. If only there were more Maries when one needs them.

  2. You are truly a beautiful, good soul. The gift of your presence makes this world a better place.

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