Aloha, friends and lovers. It is with great pleasure that I return to this, my “personal logs” aboard the Starship Earth. I took a nice long break, although I have continued to journal frequently on paper. The digital realm feels less relevant to me, as it seems to grow in importance to others. Why this is, I know not. But I am here now, seated with trusty laptop atop a glass table in my aunt’s garden. I am living currently in a spacious tent, part of a small compound my aunt has set up here in Hawaii over the last 2 years. She lost her HUD housing because she had too many dogs and one of them killed a neighbor’s chicken.
I left my budding “life” in New Orleans to come out here on a vacation as well as to work with my aunt on a business she is starting. Upon arriving it became apparent that she had much less of a handle on the particulars than I had been led to believe. The product is a canned fruit spread, and necessitates having a clean workspace (kitchen), a minimal liability insurance policy, as well as filing and paying taxes on any profits. I had planned to help my aunt develop a business plan and get an initial loan to get this project off the ground. As of now, I have been here two weeks. She has not yet allowed me to access her receipts and work up a cost basis, and most or all of my practical suggestions and desires have been met with a reactive, emotionally loaded hailstorm of discouraging words. So then I close my mouth and just go along with whatever she is wanting to do. Which is not the most effective, but there you have it. Family first, right?
My aunt is 70 years old and, I’ll just be frank here, I am worried about her. She is receiving a salary for a county job she is not actually performing, and seemingly spending each paycheck as soon as she gets it. Where the money is going is toward developing this compound she lives in- several large Costco carport tents with various appliances and furniture set up in an approximation of an outdoor living space. It’s nice, but the prospect of a viable business arising is seeming more dismal as the days go by. We are producing the product in a dirty, nigh uncleanable environment, with no handwashing space or even clean towels, the water used for washing our canning jars and for the processing is from an uncovered rainbarrel that has all manner of detritus visibly floating around in it (including what I judge to be mosquito larvae). She dumps bleach into the water periodically, as if that makes safe for use in canning a commercial product for sale. There are three dogs underfoot while we work, and of course their fur is flying around everywhere. Did I mention there’s no place to wash our hands??
So I am in a bit of a tizzy. It is in my nature to be helpful, and I sincerely wish to assist my aunt in creating a viable business, one that she enjoys working in and that will provide her enough income to live on. Even at her advanced age, she has very few assets and no retirement money saved up. Like I said, she seems to spend it faster than she gets it. She is still making payments on defaulted student loans from the 1970’s.
I have been holding counsel with a close friend, who has come to the conclusion that my aunt is losing her grip on reality. I myself don’t know WHAT to think. I respect and honor individuality, and I believe we all have a very subjective portrait we construct of what is real and what is not. Based on phone conversations with my aunt before I booked myself to come out here, I had a totally different vision of what was going to be taking place, and I still see that as a possible reality. The insurance, the kitchen, accompanying licensing and paperwork, and even an employee or two, are all viable options. (I even secured a possible private investor, pending the development of the business plan.) But with the main player (my aunt) being so resistant to any sort of structured planning, I am losing faith.
We began selling at a farmer’s market last week. They had agreed to waive the requisite insurance, but that will not matter if an inspector comes. Which they are liable to do any time, especially since this is a new market that is just getting organized.
My aunt’s paradigm is one in which her needs can only be met by manipulating and telling half-truths. At least this is part of what I have observed from living with her thus far. She doesn’t want to get insurance because she doesn’t feel she should have to pay for it. And if someone were to become seriously ill after consuming her product? Well, then, too bad for them. Or so her thinking seems to go.
For myself, I am doing very well. I have been taking my antidepressant for just about one year now- fun fact, last July I was briefly hospitalized against my will in relation to mental health issues. I feel healthy and capable, and infinitely grateful each day for the freedom and love that flows to me and through me from all corners of the universe. Kauai is such a beautiful place and I have been immensely enjoying myself here. A friend from the mainland is now talking about wanting to buy land and start a farmstead out here, and I can be involved if I choose. Very exciting but also scary.
In New Orleans- I know I didn’t post hardly at all while I was there, my bad :p – I had gotten myself situated with a part time job at a garden center, as well as several ongoing landscaping maintenance gigs and slinging weed, and I was feeling great. I even got a little apartment all my own and began to PAINT again, which I love.So now, in my absence, I have a friend subletting it and watching over my stuff- which consists of a big duffel bag of camping gear, some books of poetry and metaphysics, and of course a pile of fun and colorful clothing which I totally don’t need now that it’s 80 degrees every day. And my crystals, which I actually miss the most of any of it. There is a crystal shop here but I went in yesterday and they didn’t have anything for me. So…
I titled this post because I feel I am successfully maintaining a balance, in the midst of swirling winds of change. Sometimes the winds are roaring, and quite often it rains. My daily asana practice has not been as lengthy as it could be, and I take responsibility for that. I realize I am a dynamic being and every day, every breath, is a new opportunity for growth and change. And thriving!! I am also balancing out my caring and desire to help those around me, with dealing effectively with my OWN life circumstances and making my own choices. It is truly a beautiful thing, in its messiness and imperfection.
In five years, if I am still alive in this body, I have no clue where I will be. I guess that’s always true for each of us, but it still trips me out. Our words and actions, as well as our thoughts and prayers, each day bring us a step farther from our past and a step closer to the future. But we never get there, of course, it is all experienced “in the moment”.
Just a few years ago I did not expect that this life would be mine to savor, and yet here it is. And the taste is so satisfying to my soul. I remain a wanderer, a wonderer, and perhaps will be until I die. If its true that a rolling stone gathers no moss, what does it gain instead?
Me, on a boat, trying to hold it together in between bouts of illness. I think it’s safe to say, I am not a boat person. 🙂
A mural I found in Hilo, depicting the polarities of water (sea) and fire (volcano) embodied by two of the Hawaiian goddesses associated with these natural elements.