Interestingly enough, I have settled into uncharacteristic surroundings on this retreat from the ordinary:  An errant washer and dryer discarded on the side of the house that appears as old as the 100 year old plantation cottages that reside here; about 50 feet away, a vintage school bus that has been claimed by the twisted vines and flowers of the jungle. Red dirt and rocks paint the uneven driveway bordered by wood piles, wild chickens and feral cats.  Rusty corrugated roof tops, wild banana bushels and towering mango trees. It is a collage of third world characteristics blended with unadulterated tropical beauty; and guess what, I love it!

My ego says I should be embarrassed by my lodging here on the west side of Kauai. It is a stark difference from the aesthetic home I keep in the northwest suburbs of Chicago or the resorts on the other side of the island. There is still this urge born out of my distant middle school years that says I should care what other people think.  Truthfully, it is a great lesson in life: To force yourself to swallow shallow pride and face your internal insecurities and doubts. This is a valuable message learned: To dig deep down and ground yourself to simplicity and True Nature. To see the beauty even among discarded junk and debris dotting a down trodden local neighborhood.

An old tire with a tropical flower growing out of its inner reaches, a gecko races along the rotted beam of a partially collapsed garage across the way. Blue sky above accented by a rainbow to the east as rain contemplates its journey across the island’s spine. Once grounded and centered, beauty is born from most things tangible. Here on this meditative retreat from the normal, I feel relaxed and aware – spacious and driven – my thoughts of the future, are the paying currency of wellness as I watch 2011 wane and disappear – only to remain as memories of the past.

John C. Bader

 

 

 

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