So, the Return Voyage metaphor turns literal today. This enormous expanse of continental United States lay now between 'Iokepa, me--and home. Two twelve-hour days of driving--from Baltimore to Urbana, Illinois, and from there to Mitchell, South Dakota--are under our belts and we are exhausted. But three more days of strenuous drive lay ahead of us.
Last September, we flew from Kaua'i to Seattle, and this adventure began.
Slowly...oh so slowly...we criss-crossed and zigzagged over this continent. We experienced all four seasons fully: Golden oak leaves and red maples last October; a frozen solid Mississippi River in January; tulips, daffodils and lilacs in April; fresh green deciduous leaves budding, sprouting, and leafing this June.
All of this was exotic. Believe me: When you have lived on these Islands for any length of time, seasons are something you do not take for granted. 'Iokepa and I savored every dogwood blossom, forsythia flower, and icy snowball this year.
It was a nine-month, 23,000 car-mile, grass-root commitment to carry the aboriginal Hawaiian wisdom to every corner of the U.S. We spoke to Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic, Asian, and Caucasian folk of every social and economic background. We spoke about a culture that knew no war for 12,000 years; a culture that took responsibility for every thread of Creation; a culture that embraced the feminine in every man and the masculine in every woman.
"We are all half our mothers...half our fathers..." 'Iokepa repeated.
'Iokepa explained how his people lived, and how, what his people lived then lights the way for the entire Earth at this juncture. He encouraged every soul we encountered to access his own aboriginal source.
We moved-- in every breath--without plan and without income. We lived what we spoke: That when we accept and embrace our individual destinies--the work we were put on the planet to accomplish--we are supported in unforeseeable and unimaginable ways.
"Your imagination can't take you that far," 'Iokepa's grandmothers told him eleven years ago. They were exactly right.
The walk of faith that 'Iokepa exemplified on the Hawaiian Islands for more than eleven years (and inspired innumerable friends and strangers to do the same), we packed safely into our three suitcases and two hearts, and began this ancestor-driven Return Voyage.
We have been perched on the Eastern edge of America a month longer than we anticipated. We know, however that we were, as always, exactly where we were supposed to be, doing exactly what we were called to do: Asking for guidance; listening for the answers; helping in the places where we could be helpful; deepening our own faith and compassion.
Today, we (like 'Iokepa's powerful, voyaging ancestors) huliau. We turn, and find our way home.
We expect no leisurely jaunt this time. We expect to drive the continent with stops only for fuel, food, and rest. We expect to say our farewells in the American Northwest (where our Return Voyage Camry is licensed, and where it will remain) for a couple weeks, and then somehow manifest an airplane ticket home.
But "expect" is one of those words that make us smile.
"Expectation leads to disappointment. No expectation leads to surprise." Again, the Hawaiian grandmothers' whispered these words into our younger ears, some years ago.
It makes no difference to either 'Iokepa or me, whether our "plans" are fulfilled as expected. We are (every one of us) in service. The work of our lives is to remember: How, when, and where to serve. Then to act on that knowing.
It seems, nevertheless, that we are heading back to Hawai'i. And despite the gifts and glories of these past ten months (they have been enormous, we continue to be grateful) we are ready to fill ourselves deeply from the Islands' nurturing land, spirit, and people.
Keep the ahi poke and poi coming....we're returning home.