The Ocean Teaches: 5 Lessons From My Hawaiian Vacation

“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came.”-- John F. Kennedy

I was blessed with a last-minute vacation to Maui for my student of life spring break. Over the Easter weekend my body and spirit had let me know it was time to renew. Things had been hectic with business and books. Change the scenery was a driving message.  So in two days, all came together for me to make it so, with timeshare availability and frequent flyer miles scheduling to leave on April 6. My method of preparation was intentional and prayerful.

Lesson 1: Things line up when they’re supposed to. The trip was beautiful, accommodations wonderful and travel without major incident.  Waking up early on this enchanted island, first to get some work done, then out for a morning beach walk, was amazing. The long flight and time zone adjustments were worth it from my east coast abode. I enjoyed people watching and eating, as well as participating in educational talks at the resort. This was my 2nd time on Maui; a previous stay here was during Christmas week 12 years ago, where I ventured up to the volcano Haleakala and watched the sun rise. Very illuminating and spiritual!

One of the most engaging activities of my time in Hawaii was with the Pacific Ocean, wading my feet, immersing my body, and playing in the waves. Signage at every vantage warns of the danger of this powerful body of water. I’m not a great swimmer so I found the safer beach spots that allowed me to soak in the healing salty sea. Observing the old and the young venture further out to snorkel, paddle and surf, I envied them their no fear passion as they indulged the ocean.  But my comfort level grew at times as I gained a better understanding of the shifting currents. I welcomed a few big waves and I dived in, the waters subsiding in time for me to stand up and regain my footing.

So what did I learn from participating and watching in those beach moments?

Lesson 2: When the big one comes, whatever that is in life, lean in and take it on. In the midst of adversity, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and panic .The human body responds to our instinctual command of the situation. Let body and mind work in tandem.

Lesson 3: A sense of balance allows us to do move toward great things. Those who paddled or surfed found ways to center themselves on those boards while using their hands to give them direction in riding the tides. Finding our core and rhythm can help us navigate smartly to succeed in our purpose.

Lesson 4: Know when to stop. As I was having fun and jumping in the water, there were points I felt like I was ten years old again. However when I felt a twinge in my side or leg, the realization struck that I’m not ten, but actually a few decades beyond that.  My fill quotient for the day was done.  We have limitations and knowing them also keeps us safe.

Lesson 5: Stand firm in your shore. One of the resort talks I attended covered the history of Hawaii. The speaker proudly shared her ancestral story of their journey thousands of miles across the Pacific in canoes using the stars along with their knowledge of the sea to point the way and help them survive. Her words were powerful. I could relate. We all look for shores in life, a place to hold on to.

My vacation was well rounded- energizing, reflective, educational and grounding.  I remain grateful for the opportunity to be able to do this type of travel.

What anchors you on your voyage?


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