“Does she live in this motor home?” I asked my friends today.
We pulled up on a 20 acre farm with an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean to our right and a slight glimpse of Maui 50 miles out to our left.
She came out of the motor home, and gave us a hug. Turns out yes, she lives part time in this motor home, and the second part-time in her house in Waimea. She gave us a tour and told us the story of her arrival to this property.
“When I pulled up, I started to cry. I couldn’t believe how provided for I was by the universe to get the chance to live here, in my motorhome, on this stunning property. I got out of my car, and just fell to the ground in gratitude,” she told us.
We stayed for a while, walked through an iron wood tree forest, watched a black goat gallop, and played ping pong barefoot. I returned home and was supposed to cook dinner for a friend tonight, but she felt under the weather and cancelled. Ok, now I can just make something fast, I thought.
But then I thought again.
Why are we so quick to put ourselves second?
Why are we keen on curating experiences only when others are around to witness that small detail, that gesture, that care extended.
I changed my mind, and cooked a feast, for one. Pasta and veggies straight from Mr. Howie’s garden with a pesto sauce and Field Roast sausages. Then I sat down to eat it. I looked around. My place had clothes and notebooks and socks on the floor. So I got up, and cleaned the living room. I lit a few candles. I turned on some music. I sat at the table. I looked around, and saw my new favorite cookbook, Hawaii: A Vegan Paradise by Lillian Cumic. I went to grab it, and then gave my hand a quick slap, even if only in my mind.
Reading a cookbook while eating a freshly prepared meal is like sitting across from someone on an in-person date and swiping through Tinder on your phone. It’s like preparing a wood-fire and then leaving the warm crackle and pop to go look at trees on a cold winter’s night for your next burn.
So I put the book down. I sat at the table with the candles and the Hawaiin love song playlist and my perfect temperature pasta and pesto, and I was just there. I thought of my friend with the trailer home, on the ground. She wasn’t thinking about her to-do list, she wasn’t texting anyone or taking selfie videos. She was on the ground. Crying. Grateful. She was just there.
So if you have a Valentine, be there with that love.
If you have a child, be there with that bond.
If you have a meal, be there with that nutrition.
If you have a pain or a wound, be there with that lesson.
If you have a workout, be there with that growth.
And if you have the chance to be with yourself for a moment, be there with that silence. Be there with that friend, with that companion, with that lifelong partner.
So today, whoever you are with, and whatever you are doing,