The gift of time

14 01 2011

My expansive morning — “expansiveness” is my word for 2011 — brought some surprises to what otherwise would have been ordinary. It started early when I recalled a pleasant dream of a stranger in a theater who knew my name.

It has been awhile since I’ve actively recalled my dreams. When I awoke I wondered if it was my teacher Alice Anne connecting with me energetically to prepare for her time travel meditation tonight.*

Fridays are my scheduled Reiki days, but with no appointments and a promising sunny sky I went to the Pohai Nani pool for aqua exercise at 8.

In 2006 (!) I bought a punch card of x number of classes that I stopped using when I took a full-time job. I love the deep water exercise class with the “Aqua Jogger” buoyancy belt and the cordial, caring staff. They heat the swimming pool to 86-89 degrees. If it is cooler than that on the morning of class, the instructor phones to say class cancelled.

Last November, I was surprised to learn that the card was still honored, but only until today. A new schedule of classes and fees for seniors starts on the 24th. Between now and then I have the gift of time to choose which class to sign up for.

On the way home I stopped at the bank to cash a check, presenting my bank ID card. The teller asked to see a picture ID as well, and when I showed it she asked for yet another picture ID. Why? My driver’s license expired on the 9th, my birthday! Thank you so much for pointing that out, I said. After confirming my signature with the superviser, she accepted the check.

I doubled back to Satellite City Hall in Kaneohe to renew my license, getting my face all prettied up for my photo. I was wearing a plain black t-shirt, and my hair—I just got out of the pool! A man stood puzzled outside the front door that had a Closed sign on it. He was reading the many messages taped to the window.

Is there anything that tells why the office is closed today? I asked. “Furlough Friday,” he mumbled, pointing to a calendar. The partial solution for overcoming Honolulu’s budget shortfall is to put government workers on furlough.

The two of us scrutinized the calendar and noticed that the office will be closed on Monday too: Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Guess I’m driving without a license until the 18th, then.

I stopped at nearby Foodland to pick up a few groceries. It’s not my usual place to shop, but I didn’t want to get in and out of the car anymore. The checker asked for my own reusable bag. It’s the first time a store asked me that. Luckily, I did have a bag at the bottom of my purse.

The checker explained, starting next year no longer will Foodland be providing plastic grocery bags. Customers will need to bring their own. (The islands of Maui and Kauai have done away with plastic bags already.) Next year: 2012? Yes, she said. Good, I thought. I have a year to figure out what to do with my dog’s poop.

* Tonight I’m attending a New Year’s guided group meditation led by my teacher Alice Anne Parker. Alice Anne, a professional psychic, takes her students on a journey into the future for a look at their lives to come. In general, it’s usually “It’s going to be okay.” People of all levels of awareness have attended in the past and reported their visions. Very interesting! Perhaps I’ll see you visiting me here at Rebekah’s Studio.

Copyright 2011 Rebekah Luke

Sweet memories and coming home, part 2

11 09 2009

For a time I joined the morning water exercise class at Pohai Nani, a vibrant senior living community in Kaneohe, which led to my  practice of Reiki there for the residents and staff. One day, more than five years ago, Judy who coordinated activities showed me the little chapel and told of a dream to refurbish it.

I saw a cute, tiny room with an arched ceiling and pews for no more than about 8 to 12 people, if that many. The glass doors on the side slid open to overlook a small enclosed garden patio.  A hallway entrance was plain and dim. I agreed the chapel could used some refreshing.

Judy mused, wouldn’t it be nice to have the chapel decorated with a painting, something Hawaiian, to brighten the area? Maybe something in the hallway to welcome the residents, maybe even something in the chapel itself? I envisioned a fresco-like painting on a wall.

If it was to be Hawaiian, then the only person I knew who could do such a project was Ipo Nihipali, a Native Hawaiian artist known for her paintings of native birds and who had just completed a large outdoor painting at the Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Later I called Ipo to ask if Pohai Nani could contact her directly, and I gave Judy the information. I moved on to another project and didn’t see Ipo until this summer at a Hawaiian civic club celebration.

“Rebekah! Rebekah Luke! I have been looking for you!” Ipo exclaimed. She grasped my hand in both of hers. They were trembling and deliciously warm. “I finished it. I finished the painting!” Ipo said she had gotten the commission after all. She said she prayed about the piece and allowed the kupuna (elders) to guide her work. “We’re having the blessing on July 22nd, and I want you to come!” I assured her I would be there.

As soon as one steps onto the breezeway leading to the main entrance at Pohai Nani, the new painting beckons. It was decided that the imagery grace the lobby rather than the chapel for all to enjoy. Entitled KO‘OLAU! the painting is exquisitely executed and depicts our mountain cliffs, the forest, native birds, plants, a waterfall and stream. The piece is enhanced with real pohaku (stones), native ohia lehua branches, a sprouting coconut, ti leaf bundles, and arrangements of tropical ginger beneath the painting, creating a three-dimensional set. It is as if you can step right into the painting.

Recalling Ipo’s words at the ceremony, the manao (thoughts, ideas) for the  painting is something like this:

Do you remember what it was like, when you were a child, to swim in the pool and play in the forest? Look, you can do that again. Come. Leave your earthly possessions here, and go to the other side. Look at the mountains and see your ancestors. They are calling and waiting to carry you home once more. “Oh! Ko‘olau, my beloved rainbow of dreams.”

KO‘OLAU! is a magnificent work, amazing, and a miracle. Ipo will tell you that herself. That’s because she is legally blind (when she can see, it is as if she is looking through a glass of water), and she has Parkinson’s or Parkinson’s-like tremors. What a gift.

Mahalo e Ipo, my tita angel! Aloha no wau ia oe. ~ Rebekah

Artists Ipo Nihipali and her father Joseph Dowson at the blessing and dedication of "KO‘OLAU!"

Native Hawaiian artists Ipo Nihipali and her father Joseph Dowson at the blessing of KO‘OLAU!

Copyright 2009 Rebekah Luke

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