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For first time readers...my journey begins here: THE VERY FIRST BLOG POST (CC1)

Meaning of life

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." ~ Pablo Picasso

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Finding Strength to Survive Illness

A Journey Into Positive Energy
(Part 1)

Recently, I was reading another cancer survivors blog on the topic of energy. I began to think about the first time I recognized this energy surging within me.

Many years ago I was in Hawaii on the beach. I came upon several people washing their "crystals" in the ocean, energizing them. Cleansing them to remove the negative energy. They believed energized crystals gave them strength. At the time I just thought they were nuts!

One year before being diagnosed with my first life threatening illness I went back to Hawaii, but this time it was different. The experiences I encountered were more robust, more energizing. Each day was like being reborn, new, fresh, and amazing! But why?

I flew first class from San Francisco to Hawaii on American Airlines. My best friend Herb, gave me a pass on Aloha Airlines that allowed me to island hop at will during my stay. Just like a bus, except you went to the airport to get on. No frills...you're up, have some POG (passion fruit, orange, and guava juice), you're down...now get out!!! Alo-hahaha!

I began on the island of Oahu, staying with a dear friend. Patsy, a fellow Little Caesars Franchisee, was busy running her four restaurants with boyfriend Joshua. But, Patsy still found time to show me around. From North Shore to Diamond Head, from pineapple plantation to the Holona Blow Hole, I saw it all. What better guide could you ask for than your very own nani kama`aina? (beautiful native/long time resident)

Holona Blow Hole, Oahu Hawaii

On a warm tropical evening we set out for a walk along Kailua Beach. This beach has been rated as one of the best beaches in all the world. It was a mystical night. As Patsy and Joshua held hands in the moonlight, I lagged behind to give them their privacy. I enjoyed the warm waters caressing my bare feet as I briefly sunk into the sand with each step. The wet sand before us was alive. It danced with light. At first I thought it was the reflection of the almost full moon, but no...the sand was indeed alive and bursting with light!

Bioluminescent organisms danced upon the wet sands that surrounded us. As the water washed the shore, it went dark, but when the water receded the sand came alive. It glowed as if millions of diamonds were deposited upon the shore line. I was so entranced with the spectacle, I dumped out my bottled water and took some of the creatures back to the house for further inspection. By morning they glowed no more, they were dead.

Pasty took me snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. I found such color and grandeur beneath the tranquil waters. Schools of fish, vibrant yellows and blues hurried by. Then a green sea turtle appeared. He passed within a foot of me, gently gliding along. He looked me right in the eye and I felt as though he smiled at me as he passed. He swam away then turned back, circled me closely, then sailed away again as if to say, "Tag, you're it!"

I swam after him, grabbed onto the back of his shell and for a brief moment felt as if I were flying. It was as though he was trying to teach me something. I was a young boy again, invincible! I'm flying!

Then his head turned and I heard a loud "snap" as I noticed a very sharp pointed beak like appearance to his face. With that I let go, understanding my lesson was over.

After catching up with me, Patsy remarked she had never witnessed anything like that before, out of all the years she lived in Hawaii. It was a once in a life time experience. There would be many more of those to come for me on this journey.

Hanauma Bay, Oahu Hawaii

From Oahu I flew to Maui to spend the Christmas holiday in exile. I had a wonderful ocean view suite booked at the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua. I would home base there and make a side trip to Hana for 3 days.

I took the road less traveled. I challenged the southern route and not the Hana Highway as suggested. I've never been one to follow a common path. I was told nobody takes the southern route and even the rental car company did not allow cars to be driven this route. I found this out AFTER I made the trek.

There was nothing out there. Dry, deserted, surrounded by tall grassy fields, I drove across the lonely landscape. Nothing more than two tire tracks in the bumpy road..well I don't even think it qualified as a road. I should have been driving a jeep, but the convertible Mustang would have to suffice.

While driving I was stopped by a huge white horse blocking the road. A misty rain began and a rainbow appeared before me framing the majestic beast. It was a spectacular site! I marveled in the splendor, as if the horse were there for a reason. Another lesson perhaps? The mist subsided, the horse stepped off the path, and on I drove.

My Little Pony

The terrain was growing more lush and green as I approached Hana. I almost ran off the road when I spotted a Brahma bull on his back upon a grassy knoll. I pulled off the road to watch in amazement. His legs were in the air as he wiggled his body to scratch his back. He seemed enchanted. I felt as if he were trying to teach me something, as the turtle and the horse were. Another once in a life time event.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow!(It took 3 shots to capture the full magnificence of the rainbow pointing my way to Hana - sorry for the poor quality)

Upon my arrival at the Hotel Hana-Maui, the bellhop remarked, "You must have taken the southern route." "How would you know that?" I asked. Was he clairvoyant? This was a bit spooky. He then replied, "Judging by the palm fronds, tall grass, and other debris trailing behind your car, you couldn't have taken the highway." I just grinned as he showed me to my private cottage.

I was surprised to find no TV, radio, or phone in my bungalow. I went stir crazy the first day. I spent the afternoon on a red sand beach enjoying the endless beauty. There wasn't much to do but relax, something I wasn't used to. So, what to do when you get back to a room with no entertainment? Yup, get drunk!

Kaihlulu Beach (Red Sand Beach) Maui

I went to the general store. This was more like a primitive market, but it had what I needed, a very large bottle of Bailey's! I grabbed my prize and headed back to my cottage bungalow, fired up the jacuzzi on my private deck, and proceeded to indulge in the creamy elixir.

It was another warm night. The stars were bountiful and bright, as a full moon hung over head in the clear sky. The air was still and only the gentle sound of waves crashing upon the rocks in the distance could be heard. I finally felt myself giving into the splendor of it all, or maybe it was just the booze! I fell asleep in the rippling water. I awoke at 4 AM with the biggest, brightest moon smiling down upon my waterlogged body. I staggered to the comfort of my king size bed for a proper nights rest. Well, what was left of the night anyway!

My Heavenly Hana Hot Tub

When I awoke this time, there was something staring down at me from above. It was a gecko clinging onto the tip of the ceiling fan blade as it slowly circled above my bed. Not a good thing to witness with a hangover. I wondered, "Did this little guy get into my liqueur? Was he too hung over from his own night of partying?"

As I watched my new found friend go round I thought, he's either going to throw up or risk it all and jump into bed with me. Either way I wasn't going to wait for him to decide. I remember hunting down a maid and asking her to find someone to remove the little varmint, before we became intimate bedfellows! As a native Hawaiian, she explained with exuberance that the little creature that had invaded my private space was a sign of good luck and he should be welcomed! Not where I come from honey!

I left my room to enjoy the afternoon upon a beautiful black sand beach. Something about it seemed odd. I equated black sand with dirt. I didn't want to spend my day basking in the sunlight on dirt! Upon further inspection it wasn't like dirt at all, but more like fine pebbles of black glass. This was what was left of the volcanic rock as it was pummeled by the sea. It was as spectacular as the red sand beach I lounged upon the day before.

Honokalani Beach (Black Sand Beach) Maui

On Christmas Eve the local children were to perform a holiday extravaganza in the hotel's restaurant. I was seated next to the stage at a small table covered in crisp white linen. Placed before me were Taro Chips. Taro is a root used by Hawaiians. Since taro's arrival in 450 A.D. from Polynesia, it has provided nourishment and spirituality to Hawaiians. Thin slices of taro are kettle cooked and gently seasoned to create these chips.

Mine were of the mobile variety. By this I mean, THEY WERE MOVING! My table was placed next to a large support column. Down the column ran hundreds, if not thousands, of microscopic ants attempting to haul off my appetizer! Without trying to make a big commotion, I flagged down my waiter and pointed to the rush hour traffic upon my table. He smiled, gently pulled the table from the column, brushed away the population, and replaced my Taro Chips with a fresh, less mobile variety.

Though the table was now ant free, the rest of the tribe was still running up and down the column. When I quietly asked the waiter if he was going to spray something to kill the pests, he explained. "We learn to co-exist with nature here in the jungle." The children put on a very cute show. My dinner was delicious despite the unwelcome guests, but "co-existing" in a jungle environment is not my style!

That night the maid left an industrial strength can of bug spray in my room and instructed me to spray the interior perimeter before bed. My gecko friend was no where to be found. He must be hungover in a corner somewhere, already tucked away. That night I slept better than I had in years.

Christmas morning arrived and it was time to check out. I opened the door of the bungalow and noticed the outline of a small lizard. My "good luck" gecko had been squashed between the door and frame of the entrance. I wondered if that was the gecko equivalent to drinking and driving? He might have been good luck for me, but I obviously wasn't his good luck charm! Mele Kalikimaka my friend!(Merry Christmas!)

I wanted to stay a few extra nights, but sadly they were booked for the holiday season. On my way back to the Ritz, taking the Hana Highway this time, I took a side trip to a beach that was recommended by some locals.

While lounging on this pristine, sugary white sand, crescent shaped beach, I watched dozens of people climbing up the side of a mountain with lawn chairs, beach umbrellas, and guitars! This was no easy trek. Something really enticing must be on the other side of that rock. I had to inspect it further!

I gathered my things and hiked up the jagged volcanic mountain, following the trail blazed before me. It was exhausting...this better be good!

Peace B

Tune in next time, when someone steals my helicopter , I end up the only single person on the beach, and I learn the carpet doesn't always match the drapes! The journey into positive energy continues!

A Journey into Positive Energy - PART 2


Maureen said...

Hey Brian,
Thanks for taking me back to Hawaii! Your descriptions made me feel like I was there once again. I too had a lovely little gekko friend in my room. It was weird, I normally would have freaked out, but for some odd reason, he made me smile and feel a sense of calm. I did proceed to shake out every bit of clothing I had in the room!

Hanauma Bay...my favorite place. I never saw anything so spectacular before that.

I would love to return to Hawaii for real some day, but you took me back...even if only for a few minutes.

I hope you are doing well. Did you get a surgery date yet? You know I am nosey!!!

Thanks again for your beautiful and inspirational blogs.

{{{hugs}}} and ♥'s

Dr. Swill said...

Hey Stranger! Thanks for stopping by I thought you were hiding!

They pushed my surgery date back to June 5th. The surgeon (Clayman) wants to see me before the plastic surgeon (Hanasano) does. They couldn't get their schedules coordinated. Too many golf days I guess! Patients come second when you're not actually dying anymore!

I too miss Hawaii very much. I almost bought a condo on Maui when I retired but thought it unwise because of the 5 hour flight to the mainland. I found a ocean view 2bd. for $265 under construction in Kihei. That was a mistake now that I look back!

I still want to be buried there...well left there. I told my best friend ..throw my ashes in a volcano and let me come back as new earth! My aunt was shocked asking why I would want to be thrown into the fiery pits of hell...she didn't get it!!

Hope the jobs are going well!

Peace B

Anonymous said...

Hey, where is part two? I have been waiting for a week. Is bad enough you do that to be continued thing. I hate cliff hangers.

When you going back?? I never been. I eat the pizza rather than makin it. LOL

Dr. Swill said...

A WEEK? what calendar are you using? How many pain pills have you had today John? I posted it late Thursday! LOL

I go back 1st week in June, they moved my appointments to coordinate with all the Drs. Surgery to adjust the tongue flap June 5th. CT and the drill that week too!

I miss pizza! Hell I miss food!!!

Peace B

Anonymous said...

Well, I had a bit of percocet Sat and time does move a bit slower in Indiana.

Let me know when you have part 2.

I have been to key west, but would like to add Haw. to my list of adventures.

I really hope your surgery goes very well. I'll add ya to my list when I say the " Now I lay Me".

Words To Live By:

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others." -Mahatma Gandhi