At a recent Life Reboot retreat in Hawaii, one of the women in the group shared a story about seeking an oceanview swing. With her permission, I am sharing my version of her story here.
Near the entrance to the Kalani Retreat Center on the Big Island of Hawaii, where we gathered for our week-long experience together, there is a place called “The Point.” There, a simple wooden bench sits on a rocky outcrop, braced by a tall palm tree. You can hear the waves crashing on volcanic rocks below. You can feel the wind and salt water spray on your face, and as the sun rises, the colors along the horizon slowly transform from grey to pink to blue.
About fifty meters from the bench, there is a simple wooden swing hanging by two ropes from a tree, overlooking the ocean.
Kath had made it a habit to go to sit on that bench at The Point every morning. It was her private ritual to enjoy a few moments of much-needed silence and solitude each day, during our intense week-long transformation journey together.
But she didn’t know about the swing.
During the week, one of the Kalani volunteers told Kath about the swing. She thought, “How could I have missed that?! I've been going to The Point every day.”
The next morning, she set out to look for it. After scrambling around among the trees in the semi-dark trying to find the swing, she couldn’t see it. She thought maybe she had understood the directions wrong, so she turned back.
Feeling frustrated and a bit sheepish about not finding the swing, Kath came to our group workshop session that day and in our sharing circle, she shared about her struggle in finding the swing. She admitted feeling ashamed at her inability to find it.
Another woman in the retreat group said to Kath, "Oh it's not easy to see, but I promise that it’s there. You just have to keep going."
Strengthened in her resolve after being given this reassurance, Kath attempted again. This time, despite the fact that the path was not marked and the rocky cliffside was looming just over her right shoulder… she continued. She pushed past her doubts. She pushed past her fears. She just knew it was there. Although part of her wanted to give up, she kept murmuring to herself “Keep going. Just keep going.” And so she kept going.
Then suddenly, after wandering (and wondering) down the windy, leaf-strewn, barely there path, and walking several meters past where she thought the swing should have been… Kath looked up and saw it smack in front of her, as if appearing out of nowhere.
Celebration! Relief. Gratitude. Her trust and her commitment were rewarded. She had found The Swing.
She came back to our workshop session that day, triumphant in her discovery.
The next day, Kath brought another woman from the retreat group to visit the swing. The pair picked their way along the rocky, winding way, with Kath’s companion leading the way. Kath looked up and saw her friend standing doubtfully near a pile of rocks ahead and looking back at her, asking, “Is this the right way?”
Her friend's query sounded much like Kath's own internal monologue when she came alone, but there had been no one to reassure her. And even though she found the swing herself just the day before, Kath again experienced a moment of uncertainty.
Yet strengthened by their sisterhood, the determined duo kept going. After a few twists and turns, they finally discovered the swing they were in search of. Upon reaching the swing, Kath's friend made this poignant observation: “Wow, you really can’t see the darn thing until you’re right on top of it.” How true, Kath thought.
Why do I share this story?
It’s a beautiful story of trust and persistence, and there is so much we can learn from it. When I start to worry about where I am going with my life, with my work, with my relationships, I remember this story and it serves as a beautiful reminder to relax and to trust.
You don’t need to see exactly where you’re going to know that you’re on the right path.
You are always exactly where you are meant to be. It is important trust the process. We need to remember to trust even when, and perhaps especially when, the path is rocky.
Or, as Kath summarized her lesson from this experience: Relax about the future.
In other words... Keep going. Just keep going.