ALOHA IN DA WHITE HOUSE
"HAPPY! HAPPY!!JOY! JOY!!HAPPY! HAPPY!!JOY! JOY!!HAPPY! HAPPY!!JOY! JOY!!" - Ren & Stimpy
While millions of people around the world tuned in to watch the inauguration preceedings, my buddy Laurens and I retreated to the valleys of Waimanalo to celebrate the new presidency by spending more time with new friends at Olomana Gardens.
We thought it appropriate to take step back to nature and simplicity as the rest of the world held its breath and wept while Barrack Obama, the great Icon of Hope for our generation, was sworn into office. In celebration of new beginnings, we questioned and further explored new territory in what we want our lives to stand for, and how we want to live.
In doing so, we spent the morning the interns and WWOOFers living on the farm to learn more about organic permacultre and aquaculture, then hiked watertrails in the mountainsides with the group to learn more about the local watershed and water quality issues.
"[Living on a farm] is not how I want to live", Laurens explained to me, "but I LOVE learning new things and connecting with people who are leading the way and using their resources to actually DO what they love to affect change."
Laurens is one of my best friends, the kind of guy who looks at a challenge and simply figures out how to make it work; no whining, no drama. He is a fellow alumni of HKU...Hard Knocks University. We've both built our businesses with our bare hands, and little more than our wits + a burning desire to provide as many options as we can for our loved ones. Money....and lots of it....is important because of the options it affords us; it is the means, not the ends....though in recent times we have found ourselves questioning our definition of "lots"...
In some ways, I feel like I have lost my business so that he doesn't have to lose his...there are mistakes I've made along the way that he doesn't have to make himself since I've crossed them off the list as "things not-to-do."
He is facing his own set of challenges to....as we all are....and I admire the way he looks to make the best of whatever comes his way. In many ways, he and I are on similar paths, though from the outside our lives look very different:
He = married, 3 young children, still in business, driving us in his Mercedes.
Me = single, 1 small dog, out of business, driving my uncle's beat-up 1992 Volvo...
...yet each of us questioning and exploring and discovering more and more about himself with each passing day. Fighting the good fight. The fight to listen to your own heart's true desire, true purpose.
Henry Ford famously said, "failure is simply the opportunity to start again more intelligently."
So, when President Obama proclaimed, "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America," I hear it with slightly different ears.
Starting today, I must pick myself up, dust myself off, and begin again the work of remaking myself.
No more laying in bed feeling sorry for myself. No more avoiding phone calls or old friends reaching out to support and connect with me. No more hiding. Time to hold my head high and dive into the work of rebuilding myself....and to start from within.
This is the part of the movie where the main character gets beaten down by his nemesis, and retreats into the mountains humbled and bloody to lick his wounds. Thus begins the battle that is fought within, the battle of "Can I really do this? Am I worthy enough?".....the wandering and the wondering and the soul-searching that goes with it....this is the part of my life I am entering into now.
We have been called to “a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.”
Character. What am I made of? Is my desire to travel simply me running away from my challenges? Or am I on the path of searching and discovery that envisioned by the movie running in my head? Will I come back? Will I even leave [I haven't yet bought my tickets...]?
Task. How do I want to make a difference to our world? Why am I here.....what do I want my life to stand for, and be about? What is it that I want to do with my life?
We emerge from the rainforest into a new world...on the drive home, the dark clouds of challenges still ahead loomed ominously in the valleys to our right...and rays of sunshine blazed patches of blue sky over the ocean to our left. The earth itself is whispering to us of what lies ahead.
EACH OF US, STEWARDS OF OUR COMMUNITIES