There are times in life when, if you listen closely enough, you really can hear the whispers of your soul. You know ... in between news reports, paying your bills, working for a living, finding meaning in life and trying not to go out of your mind.
These seemingly random thoughts or feelings may come to us and suggest that we take an action that defies reason but on a deeper level, may produce a fruitful yield on a spiritual level or in other areas of our personal growth. And let's face it, when it comes to stepping onto paths of enlightenment, it's not often that things make sense. Leaps of faith are required.
Earlier this year, while I was braving frigid Chicago weather and massive snowdrifts in front of my favorite Evanston Starbucks -- drifts that felt as if I was scaling the brutal edges of Mt. Everest as I climbed over them ... in sneakers no less and all for a grande mocha chai -- a curious moment of grace arrived via email. I was asked by my former acupuncturist to oversee a baby olive orchard in Maui -- this, the day before a Skype interview to work for a major monthly magazine. Technically, I had been unemployed since April of 2014 yet remained vigilant in finishing, publishing and promoting my "Grace Revealed," which was released earlier this year. It made more "sense" to step into another media job. It made very little sense to leave The Mainland, live off of my dwindling savings and steer away from the traditional working force, opting to, say, take more time to ponder life, begin another book and trust that, somehow, things would work out.
And watch olive trees grow. I mean, how Zen!
Well, Maui has been quite something in the few months I have been here -- ruminating, reflecting and racking up what I hope are stellar spiritual frequent flier miles. Here's something they don't often tell you in Transformation 101: Some magic carpet rides come with turbulence ... for you will be asked over and over again to trust and trust and trust and confront your doubts about yourself, life, or the way you think something should be when you know very well that the way you think things should be may not be the way something greater than you wants them to be.
This has been my journey thus far on Maui.
However something recently occurred that well ...
George had been living with me for about five weeks and I was ready for him to go. It's one thing to barge in and take up camp in the comfy surroundings The Universe so kindly provided--me. (I am seeking spiritual enlightenment in an olive grove, after all, and I am going through a kind of mental detox from Corporate America.) However, it's quite another thing when you bring two comrades with you, Georgette and Georgeanne.
Meet the Gekkos.
They crawl, they make mating sounds, they hide behind the television I never watch.
They also frighten the hell out of me -- former city dweller I. The truth is: I don't mix well with reptiles and rodents ... although, somebody recently told me that a Gekko really isn't a reptile.
Regardless, I get spooked by the sight of them.
So, culling from as many enlightenment skills as I had stored up here ... you know, between meditations, freak outs -- Dear Lord, what's become of my life and where is it going and how did I end up overseeing an olive grove and is that THING called MY WRITING CAREER officially on pause, now, or what? -- and other curious anomalies, I thought it best to allow George The Gekko to remain in my quarters until, well, he felt it best to leave from the same crevice he had arrived.
In the beginning, there was George. Just George. I figured he deserved a name and so, George The Gekko he was deemed. I doubt Mother Nature really gave him a name so this gesture, on my part, I thought, was filled with love and compassion.
Sometimes, in the evenings, when I returned from a day of exploring Maui -- oh, in moments when I still found myself to be entirely too serious, I'd take myself to the beach and stay in the ocean until I could giggle again -- I would find George climbing the walls. My, how I could relate. I had come from that type of existence after all -- back on The Mainland.
"George," I would say. "Are you still here? I'm sure you would have a better time outside with your friends. Here George, let me open the door for you so that you can find your way back outside."
To my surprise, George wanted to stay. Later, during the wee hours of the night, George's jungle mating call permeated the entire living area. I'd often turned to my side and sighed: "I know, George. It may be time for me to find a special somebody, too. But, you know, it's all an inside job, don't you think? I mean, George, correct me if I am wrong, but it's not as if you can just go OUT THERE and find a mate and make everything A-OK. You have to be strong within yourself. Right, George? I mean, we can't be depending on other people to fill our empty holes."
The remark spurred another mating call from George. I wasn't sure if he was agreeing with me or caught my joke.
"George," I went on, "Did I tell you yet that I married myself 10 years ago? I didn't? Well, I suggest you do the same. My wedding anniversary is coming up in November and I think I may do something really special, George. Although next year ... I think my partner and I are taking separate vacations. The point is this, George: It's a no-brainer -- people ought to get married to themselves -- first -- before they ever consider doing it with another somebody?"
George remained silent, however I knew he was still there -- climbing the walls.
In the meantime: "Greg ..." I think I told myself that night, "STOP TALKING TO THE GEKKO and go back to sleep. You sound like Tom Hanks in that crazy island movie!" (I have such a lovely husband.)
Well, days turned into weeks. I tended to the olive grove here in Kula -- magnificent, by the way and still babies. I marvel at their patience, at their ability to just be. Tending to them has brought in many lessons, and most of them revolve around the art of being in the moment; enjoying the journey and realizing that in the mad rush to GET OVER THERE, we never fully arrive anywhere. Not really.
After the death and ABBA-music-inspired burial of Fernando -- some may recall that Fernando was the bird that I buried recently -- I came home that evening and found that George had been holding out on me. There was a smaller Gekko with him -- crawling the walls.
Rude, I thought. Two of you? Really, you could have texted me or something!
After all, I had no idea what George was going to do with this, this, this GEORGETTE Gekko. Would they be fornicating throughout the night -- right there in the same cavern as me? Well, really, I haven't seen this type of behavior since college and I was surprised.
I sighed and let it go ... because, apparently, that is my mission of late -- to LET GO OF EVERYTHING I KNEW.
Sort of ...
George did evoke his mating call that evening and I was tempted to give him a stern warning:
"Look, George," I would have said. "If you think I am going to parent your baby while you galavant around, cocksure, with that Georgette by your side, you better think again. Not under my roof, mister! There's one door there, and another slit in the screen over there. Don't let them hit you in the tail on the way out."
Another week passed. I went on a hike to the stunning Iao Valley with some new friends. I watched the rehearsal of Maui's only authentic Hawaiian choir, launched by my other new pals, Gale and Richard. I laughed, cried, purged, got over things, integrated things, met cute people, internally gave them mating calls and yet, still seemed to only crave one thing: More of whatever THIS was here on Maui. More of ... Not That back over there -- in an office, in THE CAREER, in the sea of desperately reaching a point of YOU HAVE ARRIVED! TA-DA!
And that realization, too, confused me. If we are not what we once thought we were ... when all that we were seems to be in the process of being stripped away ... who are we? Who do we become? Dear Lord -- with such a blank canvas, anything is possible. As Landmark Education so wonderfully points out: from nothing something can be created.
Or maybe it was Einstein that pondered that? Or movie mogul Robert Evans? Can't be certain at the moment.
One evening I came home again and I found George and Georgette frolicking about.
"Hey guys, how goes it?" was my immediate response, realizing that, perhaps, I had grown accustomed to their presence.
Well, the three of us chatted up a storm. I never knew Gekkos were good luck and now there two around me, so I thanked them for their presence. I believe they felt validated.
It was the least I could do. We had been roomies for some time now.
Three days later, as I stepped into my lower-level living quarters, I spotted it -- a third Gekko. Smaller. Not a baby. Obviously an adult -- just not as studly as George, who was at least six inches long and, in Gekkoland, that must be huge!
I shot George a look and smirked: "Really, George? A ménage à trois? Well, that's it!"
The thought of these Gekkos getting it on when, well, I wasn't home, disturbed me. I mean -- the audacity! My mind suddenly concocted all types of scenarios. I glanced at the couch, the bed -- the kitchen counter!
"George, I swear if you did it on the kitchen counter, I am just going to lose it, buddy!"
After a healthy counter-polishing, I sat down and had a talk with the troika.
"OK, look, I get that The Universe brought me here, in part, to help me realize that the world does not revolve around me! Actually, I didn't really think I did think that. OK, fine, those gaggle of times over the years, but I've done good. I've evolved. And now you need to, too, George ... and Georgette and ... " I shot the third gekko a look. "Well, I guess you're Georgeann? Or are you a Gus? Which would be fine with me, kids. Love is love, right?"
I felt good about the talk. I think they all got the point -- basically, that ... energetically, the juju I would spewing out henceforth would be the kind that would find them lovingly and easily returning to their natural habitat. It was only right, after all. I also stipulated, that there would be no ME TOUCHING THE GEKKO THAT IS YOU involved. I added an ADDENDUM: While I can BUTCH UP and MAN UP and pound mallets into posts for jacaranda trees and tie olive trees back to their posts and be rugged and drive that POLARIS JEEP out into the fields -- and all without the catering I had been used to on the mainland -- that they would ALL have to leave ...
Sooner rather than later.
And then, two days later, a chance encounter presented itself.
There I was minding my own business, washing dishes, when I spotted a very robust, healthy-looking George on the wall above the windows. I shrieked.
"George! Don't creep up on me like that!"
Well, my teenage girl-like yelp frightened George, too. He crawled into between the levered windows and the screen.
My eyes widened. At last!
I immediately shut the windows on both sides, trapping George between the screen and windows. He shot me a look over his left shoulder.
"Oh, relax, Dearest George. Freedom is a screen removal away."
I took my iPhone with me outside, its trusty flashlight intact. George was pressed up against the screen.
"Look, it's really the best position one could find oneself in life, George, don't you think? I mean, if I could count how many times my nose had been pressed up against a wall without any seemingly escape plan. Really, George, I'm saving your life. You'll have more food out here. More water. More whatever."
One problem: I had no idea how the hell to remove a screen!
Really, Greg? You can't remove a simple screen?
I told myself to hush up. After all, I had been interviewing celebrities, uncovering the lost story of Polish deportees and running a newspaper in between mood swings for 15 years--who the hell had time to change a screen?
"George, whatever you do ..." I offered, my heartbeat quickening. "Just don't crawl on me ... up my leg and body and all. PLEASE! Just do a buddy a favor and land in the dirt!"
George blinked three times. Not sure what that was code for.
One .. I jiggled the screen. Two ... I felt it coming loose. THREE!
I screamed and jumped back two feet and as I did, George gently landed onto the concrete and then without a look back, fled into Maui's rich red dirt, out into the fields, near the palms, near water--toward the vast expanse of freedom.
The metaphor was not lost on me.
Heart pounding, I replaced the screen and returned inside.
Georgette was right at the other door.
I dashed across the room. I opened the door. Georgette scurried under the table next to the door. I dashed to the side and nudged a few chairs. Like a cop interrogating a criminal, I briefly shined the spotlight into Georgette's eyes. She blinked and ...one crawl ... and then two ...
Georgette, go ... you're nearly home!
THREE--Georgette left the building.
A breathed a sigh of relief and gently shut the door. Now, was there a vodka and tonic nearby?
Later that night, as I lie in the bed, Georgeann's mating call woke me from my slumber. To which I responded: "Oh man, Georgeann! Your are a gus. You want your Gekko Daddy, don't you?"
I rolled over. On some level, I could relate to that too.
The very next day, I let go of the entire matter. I accepted that it would be just Gus and I now, all the while assuring myself that I had given George and Georgette a better life.
And so, without not much on my mind one evening, I returned home and there was Gus -- right by the door, on the wall ...
Slightly startled, I took a few steps back and just ... opened the door wider. To my surprise, Gus crawled right through the portal and out of the house. He turned back to look at me -- I swear! Not so much to thank me. More like acknowledging that he had spent several weeks with a quirky stranger in this quirky Universe.
I smiled. "Go ahead, Gus. Find your Gekko Daddy. It's OK. Go ..."
And just like that -- Gus scurried into the dark nothingness of possibility.
"Bye Gus ..." I said, and with a sigh, I closed the door.
I was all alone now. How odd. From the pit of my stomach, I actually felt a pang of loss. What the hell was I going to do without three fornicating gekkos?
A few days later, under the vibrant show of meteor showers, I sat poolside, my head tilted back as far as I could take it. A shooting star sped across the sky. I made a wish. And then ... from some place behind me in the fields came a familiar sound: George's mating call.
Oh my. I would have recognized his voice anywhere. It was loud and pronounced and of provocative duration.
And when George initiated another mating call, my grin broadened even more.
"Oh, George ... you really are one randy gekko!"
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