Lao T’zu in the Tropics
There is something better about wearing fewer clothes. (If you are confused, see Goulashesinhawaii.blogspot.com.) The idea of wearing most of my Portland adornments – scarves, necklaces, rings, layers – seems silly here, because bodies are enough. I imagine most bodies would unfurl in this place. Hawaii is the land equivalent of that amazing weightlessness of water that can make any one of us feel lithe and supple.
Experiencing this buoyant feeling means that an unexpected glance in a mirror or at a recently taken photo has the power to shock. Moving around this place, I am a lanky, tanned, strong island woman – until reality asserts itself. This is not a new phenomenon for a person to notice – being brought up short by the contrast between our felt sense and our outer image – but I’m not sure what to do with it.
It makes me think of the first time someone tried to explain Taoism to me. I was maybe 13 at the time. The Explainer may have been my brother, who would have been 14 and studying Ancient China at Yorktown Heights High School. He said, “It’s like if you dream you’re a butterfly, and then you wake up as a human – who’s not to say you aren’t actually the butterfly dreaming you’re a person?”
We put more stock than we ought to in appearances and the way we appear to others. We all know this. How can we move through the world more as the person we feel we are? If we feel we are a butterfly, what should it matter that someone else might not see us that way? I believe this is what my professional and personal life are about: wanting us all to dare to be the butterflies we are.
Loved this and your blog about Hawaii. Thanks!
I, too, and in Hawaii, and I understand completely what you are saying. Here, I am my 16-year-old beach-going self, bodysurfing every day, drying off in the sun or beneath light cloud cover, unstressed by practicalities and trivialities. I want this person to stay with me as I return to my adult life.