Finding Balance in my Life

There is a saying, that ‘a change is as good as a rest.’ A few days ago I decided to make that change and it made me realize how little I make space for such in my life, and with that how much I do benefit from when I do honour the opportunity for doing something different.

Over the weekend I headed out to YMCA Camp Keanae with two friends who are a part of the Maui community of The ManKind Project (MKP) here in Hawaii. MKP uses the Camp as a venue to hold weekend workshops, and in order to help keep our costs down for participants, the Camp offers MKP work exchange days.

The drive out to Keanae, the village above which the Camp sits, is along the scenic Hana Highway, so called because of the destination town on the eastern most point of the road. I can see the highway from my home and each day it busy with visitors heading out on the two hour, narrow and twisting drive out to Hana. The drive is a justifiable attraction. Although the road is hairy in places as it turns sharp corners while hugging the cliffs high above the Pacific ocean, the views of the sea and the remote coast line are stunning. I have driven that road a few times and am still struck by its beauty.

But this journey is not a regular occurrence, and visits to Camp Keanae are fewer.

The Day’s Plan

The plan for the day was quite simple. We drive out in the morning, find out what work needs doing, help out for the day, and head home early evening. All the while chatting and working aside good friends.

The day was beautiful, an atypical winter day from what we had been having. Clear skies, warm sun, and wind to whip the ocean into a froth of breaking waves.

The Camp sits above the village of Keanae, and the views from the kitchen/dining area look down onto the tarot fields, church and few buildings that make up the small hamlet. A disappearing part of old Hawaii.

The Job

I was assigned the job of tearing up and replacing some decking, under the guidance of an experienced carpenter. I was in short the grunt man. We worked through the morning tearing up the rotten wood and laying the start of a new deck. At lunchtime I took myself off for a walk around the grounds and to sit and gaze out at the cliffs stretching into the distance.

It still amazes me that in living here on Maui, I am sitting on a massive volcano - Haleakala.

After lunch we moved on through a hot afternoon. Where we were working was a sun trap and we were protected from the cooling but refreshing wind. By the end of the day the base of the new deck was in place for those who came the next day. Indeed tomorrow’s crew showed up while we were getting ready to leave and started on the next stage.

Heading Home

As can often happen, I find, the drive home felt quicker than the ride out to Keanae that morning. We chatted happily, reflecting on our experiences within MKP.

I was the first to be dropped off. My wife was still out and so I had an hour to settle back into home, clear up and put work clothes away.

The day was transitioning to dusk. The light changing, that sense of winding down for the day. As I cleaned up, I looked back on the day. There was a sense of time having passed, of jobs done, conversations had, of having been somewhere else. Home felt different, different through being away from it for a period of time and enjoying myself in that time away. In being away, home felt refreshed, different yet familiar. And I felt refreshed, pleased to have been away. Pleased to have decided to take that time to spend time in good company, somewhere different to my usual daily haunts.

A change had indeed been as good as a rest.

And finally

Just before reading this piece through and preparing to post it to my blog, I headed out for Saturday morning breakfast with my wife and her daughter - again something I seem to do with less regularity than I have done in the past. My day now feels fresher, cleaner, newer. I will be starting on home tasks with a sense of renewed vigor. More benefits from a change.


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