For as long as I can remember, my all-time favorite cardio workout is to run/walk the beach. However, running in the sand can be quite challenging, especially for already ailing knees. I can usually take it for a few consecutive days or weeks until finally I must cry uncle and find an alternative to the mesmerizing lapping shores and invigorating sea breeze, as much as it irks me to do so. One day whilst on the island of Maui in the quaint, postcard-like city of Lahaina, after about three weeks of daily beach running, my aching knees were begging for reprieve. Hence, I reluctantly abandoned the beach for the more solid surface of the beach roads that wind throughout the interesting array of eclectic cottages and homes that populate the residential area between Honoapiilani Highway (Lahaina’s coastal highway) and the sea.
On one side of the highway are the majestic West Maui Mountains and on the other is the Pacific Ocean; nestled in between is the charming little historic whaling village known as Lahaina. The scenery is quite breathtaking and definitely a win-win situation whether running by the water or inland. On this particular run, a most unexpected event took me quite by surprise. You see, I was jogging along, minding my own business, taking in all the sights and sounds of the inherent beauty that is Maui, when I had one of the most memorable and unique encounters of my life.
Oddly, it all started with a whistle. Admittedly, I would normally view this as a very sexist and offensive act, but when I reluctantly turned my head in search of the offender, I was completely taken aback. At first I couldn’t find the source of the noise, but as I scanned the neighborhood scene around me I heard this muffled and very telephonic sounding “hello!” I thought maybe I was hearing someone on a phone or two-way radio in a nearby car or house.
I ran slowly on whilst visually searching my surroundings when again I hear, “hello!” and then another flirty whistle. Now I can feel the crease between my eyes getting deeper as I am beginning to think I must be hearing things when I finally spot him. There he sat casually perched aside a truck that was parked on the street. At first I passed him by almost without notice, then with another “hello” we finally locked eyes, and much to my chagrin I was instantly smitten. Though his conversation was slightly fragmented and in some ways felt a bit rehearsed, I still found myself mesmerized to the point of stopping my cardio workout dead in my tracks to talk to this fascinating fellow.
I have to tell you that he was really so charismatic that I immediately forgave him for crossing any lines of political correctness or unacceptable behavior with the whistling. I couldn’t believe how much I found myself drawn to this charming and comically confident Hawaiian beach dweller. After talking for a few minutes, it was all I could do to pull myself away from him to continue with my day. It’s truly something I will never forget.
I retraced my steps the next day in hopes of finding him again, but to no avail. The rest of my time in Lahaina passed quickly, but I never stopped searching for him. Isn’t that just the way life is? Some characters make these cameo appearances in the story of our lives, and at the time we may not even realize the lasting and profound effects their presence will have in our hearts and minds forever. Not until much later, after they are gone, when a certain phrase, song, or maybe even a scent takes us back to their memory and we have an epiphany. We suddenly understand the reason we crossed each other’s paths, and it always makes us feel a little better knowing that something infinitely greater than our little nearsighted brains lurks behind the curtains, pulling strings and setting events into play that far surpass anything we could ever have orchestrated ourselves.
I will never know whether this was somebody’s pet Mynah bird or even what kind of bird it was for sure. But that happenstance meeting with a talking bird on a backstreet in Lahaina, Maui was exactly what I needed at that particular time. You see, I was very distraught because I was trying to figure out whether to stay in Hawaii or return to the mainland. Nothing in my life was making sense. I’d moved there two months earlier seeking solace in paradise and found myself scared, broke, depressed, and still nursing a very broken heart. I had just purchased a ticket to return home and was battling with myself, wondering if I’d done the right thing.
Though you may not get the connection between the bird and my decision, all I can tell you is from that moment on, I just had this “knowing” that I didn’t have to be in Maui to experience the magic of the Universe and the healing I so desperately yearned for. I knew the work that needed to be done was an inside job and that I hadn’t been emotionally ready for the intensity of such a huge move. I knew it was my sign that I’d done the right thing. I’d fly back home and continue my healing journey surrounded by friends and family who love me. By the way, did I mention that my nickname for a big part of my life was Bird?
Isn’t it funny how the unexpected stuff that happens when we are forced to step off our preferred path due to what we may consider “bad luck” can sometimes lead to an even better thing? Had it not been for my throbbing knees, I would have never crossed that bird’s path, and I would have missed out on that whole extraordinary event and its underlying message for me. I swear I cannot recall that scene without getting the biggest smile on my face. It’s a fond memory of a magical time in Maui and in my life.
The older and wiser I get, the more I notice these synchronistic happenings no matter how inconsequential they may appear at first. Always in retrospect there lies a deeper meaning and a life lesson that helps light the way like a popcorn trail or a clue letting me know I’m on the right track.
If you want to start a fitness plan but don’t have a clue what to do, perhaps my books are just the popcorn trail you need to get you started on a healthier path!
I’ve written a series of fitness books that are so simple that at first glance they may not be taken seriously. But you see, I believe that it doesn’t have to be complicated to be profound. The Now What Fitness Series tells it like it is with straightforward fitness information that cuts to the chase with no frills or time-wasting gimmicks. If you want to know how to work out and what to do in order to structure a safe and effective fitness routine, in or out of the gym, these are your guidebooks.
I hope you’ll take the clues I am offering you and use them to become the fittest version of yourself that you can, because healthier truly does mean happier. Whatever you do, enjoy your journey. And the next time life throws you onto roads unplanned, remember to look for the hidden blessing amidst the detour. I promise it’s there every single time.
Aloha and mahalo.