bring snorkeling gear to hawaii

Taking Time to Meditate in Hawaii

meditate in hawaii

A place to meditate in Hawaii

Making your mind blank is not as easy as it sounds. Turning off the noise, being silent. Devoid of conscious thoughts is what meditation is about. I learned how to meditate in the 1960s and used to sit yoga style in my closet at the Minnesota Rehabilitation Diagnostic Center. The MRDC in Lino Lakes. That’s a place where they sent impressionable young children to figure out whether the kids were criminals and needed further detention or if it was safe to release the kids back into society.

Not many people know this, but I was contained at MRDC 3 times, the longest stay was 5 months. They didn’t quite know what to do with me. I didn’t fit their standards. I was not a “normal” 15-year-old, but then it was also 1967, which was in retrospect a bit odder than recent decades. Thank goodness they don’t lock up juveniles like that anymore.

I decided yesterday would be my day to completely relax, unwind and meditate in Hawaii. It was the Sunday before Labor Day. I turned off my cellphone, turned off my iPad and put both into my vault. Kicked off my sandals in my room. Left with only my room key, and even that seemed to be too much to keep track of, so I turned it in at the front desk of my hotel. My plan was first to go snorkeling. Leave nothing on the beach for any whippersnapper to swipe.

Note to self: yes, buy, pack and bring the snorkel gear you promised yourself you would acquire since snorkeling in Vanuatu last December. But did you? No, because it would require going into the store and getting fitted for the mask and fins. It was on the list in the back of your mind, Elizabeth, but you never got around to it and blew it off because you figured you could get snorkeling stuff at the hotel in Hawaii.

palm trees against the sky

Unlike California, palm trees are native to Hawaii

Big surprise, the storms in the South Pacific have caused the hotels to decide it is not safe enough for them to rent out snorkel equipment. This doesn’t mean you can’t go snorkeling with your own gear, it must means they don’t wanna get sued by renting it to you.

Instead of accepting defeat, I strolled over to Turtle Point, where the snorkelers go and jumped in the water. It is a dirt path, beyond the yoga spot, and eventually you will locate stone steps leading to a cement ramp into the water. It turned out to be a private swimming cove. I swam for a long time and floated on my back. Then kids showed up with inner tubes.

Afterward, I sat on the grass in my own thoughts. To meditate. I rarely get a chance to let my mind roam and go with the flow, unless I’m writing a blog or maybe watching a TV show I find boring but with which my husband appears enthralled. I miss entire episodes because I might be consumed in my own thoughts since there is no time otherwise to indulge.

Well yesterday, I indulged. I let my mind wander in and out and come up for air now and then. Stared at the ocean. Felt the force of the waves. I would not say I meditated. I’m not sure people who meditate are any happier than those who do not, to tell you the truth. Try to make your mind empty, and it’s almost impossible. You’ll hang on the very thing you’re supposed to ignore. And when your mind is empty, finally, for that brief split second, it doesn’t feel any better.

Maybe it does for monks, though. I wore my Basilica Block Party 2015 t-shirt from Minneapolis to the snorkeling spot and the guy who handed me a towel at the pool confided how much he liked it. Probably because it says Praise the Loud, and he didn’t realize it was about Jenny Lewis and Wilco. He must have thought I was a Born-Again Christian.

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