Continuing yesterday’s long day… I left Volcanoes National Park and drove mainly downhill to Pahala. This is a small town which used to be a huge sugar cane plantation – meaning it has shrunk over the years.
I went there because I wanted to visit Wood Valley Temple. This is a small, yet gorgeous Tibetan Buddhist center above Pahala. And it is quite a ways above – about a five mile drive up a gentle slope, near a large coffee plantation.
Here is the link for amazing pictures and more on the center: https://www.nechung.org/
I sat and did some prostrations and then I got to connect with one of the caretakers. In fact, she knew some of my teachers as they had taught there in the 80’s and 90’s. I was there about an hour. It is a very small temple, but it does have beautiful overnight lodging for retreatants (if you want a sanctuary to retreat from the world).
Back down in the town, I realized that the southern half of the Big Island is in a bit of a food desert. The one grocery store in Pahala had a decent selection of meats (none organic) and lots of non-perishables, but their produce selection was sparse at best. I have gotten spoiled being in central Virginia where there is a farmer’s market every 15 – 20 miles!
In Pahala, I met a Tibetan Buddhist monk who is camping on the edge of town. I was excited to be able to practice my Tibetan with a monk… so I was jabbering on in Tibetan for a minute while he made unusual facial expressions toward me. Then he admitted to not speaking much Tibetan. And on closer inspection, I realized that he was an older, short, very tan, Caucasian man. Alas! But we had a good conversation and heart connection nonetheless! Thank you for your patience Tenzin la!
I felt quite nourished by being at the Dharma center and in chatting with the Buddhist monk (who oddly is not associated with Wood Valley). That center is nestled among big trees, and the mountain Chi (life force energy) is palpable in every breath if you allow yourself to receive it! I would imagine Wood Valley is at least a thousand feet above Pahala – up the gentle lower slopes of Mauna Loa. Literally a breath of fresh air!
Being on this leg of the trip alone is bringing home to me how friends and good company are very important. Having people with whom I feel nourished is big, and rare. So keep your good friends close!
So I came to the Big Island with big intentions and dreams. And yet it seems that the theme I need to pay attention to most is Nourishment.
I think all this moving around is hard on my nervous system. Where am I? I’m not sure my system knows where it is yet. Five more days on the Big Island, and then another transition over to Oahu! I plan to get in some good adventures, interspersed with good rest and downtime. Maybe some sky gazing is in order today!
I also wonder if the energy of the Volcano was a bit much for my system. I flew 5,000+ miles, had one day to try to adjust, and then a long day including lava, gas emissions, earthquake probabilities, Dharma center, and many new sites and people. Gently, gently Kirby, be kind, soften your agenda.
Thanks for following along,