01/25/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Feb 08, 2012

A Pele Christmas: An Encounter with a True Meaning of the Holiday

As I sat Christmas morning meditating as the dawn broke here in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean over Hawaii, I was struck by the many faces of the Ultimate Unknown/Known Otherness (traditionally named God) that were presented to me.

There was the dawn itself, the light emerging, and then washing over me and this land.
The land. There is this land. The greenest green. The most lushest luciousness. The most life filled life bursting forth.
And then the sea. Vast. Deep. All Powerful.

I then thought of my encounter with Pele. 11 years ago, after my mom's death, I could not face Christmas in Los Angeles, so my father rented a house on the Big Island, so that our family could get away to a place that could hold us in our darkness. The Big Island can do just that, for she holds the manifestation of manifestation herself - Pele.

We took a helicopter ride to go and see her. We flew over the live volcano, a hole in the ground where we could see the most primal, elementary aspect of life on this planet - liquid rock. Its energy was like nothing I had ever encountered - RAW, UNFLINCHING CREATION right before my eyes. I was witnessing the very act of creation itself. My body/mind felt like it had been entered by a force beyond anything I could ever imagine. I knew I had seen the Ultimate Unknown/Known Otherness of LIfe itself. But then at that very same moment, I looked over at my dad, and saw that he was holding a small picture of my mom, angled so that she could see Pele too. My heart burst open with a love so huge, I had no idea that it could feel that. And in that moment I knew that human love, aching, raw, cut you in half human love was part of the same creation inside that volcano. That both these forces were equal in their ability to build something up, and to cut us in two. That the human heart is a vessel for Creation itself.

As I faced this Christmas Day without either of my parents, I was filled with the mystery of it all. I cannot know anything about where they are now, how much they are here or not here with me. All I could do was let my heart fill with the beauty and love I felt that morning as the dawn poured over me, and at the same time let it break in half and be destroyed by the loneliness I feel now that I am an orphan. And I can do this because I know that like Pele and that volcano just a few miles away from me today, Life itself will go on, move through me, you and everything on this planet, and my heart will rebuild itself each day in little ways that can only astonish me if I let it.