Seeking Stillness in Hawaii

Years ago, my friend and trainer Bob Greene said to me, "Hawaii is one of the best places on Earth to live." I discovered he was right. There's a reason it's often called paradise. I am blessed that for at least two months out of the year (working on three) I get to call it home.

I grew up in Kosciusko, Mississippi, where even the notion of Hawaii felt like a fantasy. I never would have imagined my life's journey would land me inside the dream that is Maui. The first morning I woke up in the house that took me three years to renovate, I flip-flopped to the kitchen and made coffee. Standing at the kitchen sink looking through the window over a meadow to the ocean, my heart swelled with gratitude at the majesty and beauty of it all. The view, the serenity of one lone horse grazing in a field surrounded by the early morning mist left me breathless. I continued to watch the mare, who seemed to be selectively choosing each bite of grass. I marveled at the truly amazing grace that had led me from Mississippi to Maui. No small trek no matter who you are. That was seven years ago.

Every moment I get to spend there, I cherish. It is my sacred space.

Every evening we sit on the front porch and watch the greatest light show on earth: the sun dipping below the horizon. Neighbors drop by. We sip drinks inspired by whatever is fresh and delicious -- mango, guava, pineapple, cucumber, basil. We chat, laugh and rate the sunsets according to their magnificence. When there's a full moon, we hike up the mountain and sometimes ride horses to the top to watch the moon rise over the ridge. I love being in my garden, cultivating the most delicious organic fruits and vegetables. Radishes as big as your head. The land gives and gives. It restores my soul.

It's the place most optimal for me to share with friends, family and my daughters from the school in South Africa. I've never encountered anyone who doesn't love it. The soothing breezes and glowing sunsets, and watching the sun rise as you look down on the clouds below Haleakala Crater all manifest the splendor of the island. For me that's the bonus. The real substance and value of being in Hawaii is the unspoken "spirit" of the people and the surroundings. Hawaiians understand that the soul of the land is what matters.

I've had some transcendent, powerful and revelatory moments on the island. Stillness so profound the sound of my own heart beating felt disruptive.

I love to return, to play, to relax, and to rejuvenate. But it's the stillness I seek again and again.