Ten years ago we took a family vacation to Hawaii. While on the island of Kauai, we hired a catamaran to take us around the Na Pali Coast. Our kids were still young and had the kinetic energy you expect in little ones. They wanted to go-go-go!
The day dawned brightly. After light breakfasts, we travelled to our jumping off point and met our captain, “Gnarly” Davidson. We piled on board and of course he had snacks and pop, which the kids loved. Another family joined us for the journey.
Captain Gnarly boated us out a ways so we could view the coastline. The high cliffs looked so unusual from a distance. Carpeted in green, they seemed wavy in the sharp sunlight, with soft, rounded peaks peaking through the fog and lots of valleys and waterfalls. Stunning.
Spent some time snorkelling where we were surrounded by exotic fish. They knew where their next meal came from as our son and the captain dropped food over the side of the catamaran.
We saw the island shaped like a dragon that formed the basis for Puff the Magic Dragon.
Signposts on our journey.
The Journey Home
From there we headed back … and that’s when the fun really began. Captain Gnarly asked us if we wanted to go fast. Hmmm, how would a boatload of kids respond to that question? Only one answer. YES!
The kids lay belly down on the catamaran’s netting, their faces upturned to catch the ocean spray. Gnarly picked up speed. The spray became stronger. Soon, the catamaran started bouncing on the ocean waves. And still, we went faster.
At some point, all we could feel was the rhythmic bouncing of the catamaran as we flew toward the Na Pali Coast. The sun beat down on us, ocean water cooled us, and we were filled with joy. Really. It felt exhilarating, like when your heart beats loudly in your chest and it’s almost hard to breathe.
It was one of those moments where time stands still. Fully present in that moment, you can only feel. No thinking involved. Riding the waves – bounce, bounce, bounce – while returning to shore.
It was the best part of our trip.
Eventually, we slowed down. The Na Pali Coast came into focus again as we approached the verdant jungle with the most annual rainfall on earth. Gnarly pulled up the catamaran at the dock and we became landlubbers again.
Same but different. The ground felt unsteady after being on the water for so long. Or perhaps we were different. What we experienced was groundbreaking. We still had the same bodies we had when we left in the morning, but we were changed by that trip.
It felt like sticking your finger in a socket: shocking. What was important became very clear to me. I loved my family, connection, kindness, nature, and beauty.
That feeling of joy was me in total alignment, living my values.
Living your Values
The catamaran trip encapsulated what I prize most. The realization came from the feeling I associated with it, the very top of the Emotional Guidance Scale, joy.
Remember Peak Moments? This was a peak moment for me. And when I reached out to the kids to ask them their favourite part of that trip in preparation for writing this edition of Life fully loved, each of them said it was that catamaran ride. Not a coincidence. We all felt it.
Peak moments highlight what’s important.
So, what do you value?