Thanksgiving, Kalani Style
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I was exhausted from my late night, but I got up for breakfast and yin yoga. Yin didn’t go as well this time. I felt very distracted and almost fell asleep a few times! After lunch and a nap, I had signing practice with Molly and Kate, then caught up on some journaling at the Point, where I saw two more rainbows far away, across the heavy surf. I felt like they were bits of Thanksgiving magic sent from the universe. I also called home, and caught my family in between dinner and dessert. They were thrilled that I called and it was nice to hear them all laughing together.
Thanksgiving dinner at Kalani was delicious. They brined the turkey, so it was moist (sorry to use that gross word, but it was!) and flavorful. Everything was homemade, including pumpkin bisque, parsley potatoes, taro casserole with marshmallows, cornbread stuffing, roasted root veggies, taro leaves, tempeh nut loaf, buttermilk biscuits with honey butter, mushroom and cashew gravy and traditional turkey gravy. There was spiced cider to drink and tempting desserts, including pumpkin and pecan pies with homemade cinnamon whipped cream, and vegan chocolate cake.
After dinner, Kate and I sang a song in the talent show. I was so nervous because Molly, who was supposed to sing with us, went off-campus at the last minute. Her absence really changed the feel of the song, but we pulled it off. Afterwards, so many people were supportive and complimentary, which I really appreciated. It was just one silly song, but it felt good to successfully do something that terrified me.
After we sang, some others did, too, and Sammy played the ukulele. Some of the more advanced volunteers performed a couple of hulas, the first being the Pele one that I learned on Tuesday. They were great and it was really fun to watch them all dressed up and dancing alongside Jonathan, who was wearing traditional Hawaiian dress and playing his gourd drum thing.
Black Friday! I began my day by organizing the free box with Kami, then relaxing on the beach. In the afternoon, I attended Shola’s Osho meditation workshop. Osho uses special sound and movement techniques to quiet my mind. Overall, it was much more effective for me than sitting still and fighting the thoughts rushing in.
The first of our two meditations used sound and movement to open and balance our chakras. The music played loudly and we were supposed to make noise along with it.
After a 15 minute break outside, we began our second meditation, which took place in four parts:
1. Shaking with our mouths open, knees bent, heads nodding yes. Drawing unwanted energy into the ground by shaking our hands and feet.
2. Dancing in our own little areas.
3. Sitting or standing, acting as “witness to ourselves,” without judgment or attachment.
4. Laying down and relaxing.
Just like my trip in general, the parts I expected to be easy were hard, and vice versa. Steps 1 and 2 were easy for me, while 3 and 4, which sounded easy, were surprisingly challenging.
Later that night, I watched Dalai Lama: Rennaisance in the Emax. In it, a group of thinkers at the top of their fields gathered in India to strategize peaceful eviction of the Chinese from Tibet. The documentary quickly turned into an exploration of the ego, since the thinkers argued with each other, squabbling for face time with the Dalai Lama and generally failing to listen to each other.
Ultimately, the group presented the idea of boycotts and economic sanctions on China, which the Dalai Lama vetoed because a suffering economy would have hurt innocent Chinese citizens. He wanted a mutually beneficial solution, which the group never found. Instead, many of the thinkers had a wakeup call as they noticed their own egos.
The movie was alright, but I would’ve enjoyed a greater focus on the Dalai Lama himself. His wisdom, humility, listening abilities and sense of humor were really impressive. He kept saying, “I’m just a simple Tibetan Buddhist monk,” and looked like he really meant it.