Yesterday I got to see a different side of Hawaii – the black sand beach, near the lava flows, where the hardened lava has been beaten into sand by the ocean waves. I was struck by how deeply sexual and primordially feminine the place was. I walked through the vast open expanse of dark, hardened lava thinking, “Oh! Of course Pele is a goddess. Of course the divine resident is female.”
It totally makes sense to me, not only because I saw female genitalia everywhere I looked in the landscape around me, but also because there is something about the destructive force of nature that feels very female to me. Maybe it’s the abundant life that immediately fills the void left in the wake of such teeming chaos. On the black sand beach people bring coconuts and leave them to sprout and become trees. Maybe it’s my ability to imagine that lava is the earth menstruating. Or it could be that like all women, she reserves the right to change her clothes as often as she wants.
The beach itself was a powerful place – a liminal blending of elements. Within seconds, I was covered with a fine sheen of salty sea spray, the sparkling black sand moist beneath my feet. I stood on a rocky outcropping and watched the waves for a long time. It came to me that love is a filling up and spilling over. Fear closes us up and makes it impossible to fill up, let alone spill over. I’ve known this, but the ocean always reminds me. Love is a filling up and spilling over. Over and over, like waves.
In this meditative state, I realized something very important to me – I don’t give up myself by loving others. I am whole and complete all by myself. Like the wave rush up to caress the shore, melt into the sand, and trickle back to the ocean, I can spill out my love, become totally enmeshed with my lover, and slowly come back to myself sated and secure. I don’t lose anything by loving. The ocean changes all of the time. She gives and receives, ebbs and flows – but the ocean is always there, constant, yet changeable. Like me.
As I watched the waves some more, I saw that the spray created a rainbow as the waves crashed into the rocky shore. It was like a neon sign telling me that I was on the right track. There is hope. There is so much beauty in the world. I too can find loving vitality out of stark destruction. And really, what if love and beauty are the birthright of every human on the planet?