In August of 1985, I rented my first home on the island of Maui. As we drove down a bumpy dirt road toward the stunning blue Pacific, I was struck by a sign that said Door of Faith Church. Energy tingled through my entire body as I realized I was opening that door, the door of faith, on this magical island thousands of miles from the US mainland.

Just last week I received the final payment from the sale of the beautiful ocean-view temple home and property I developed and built in 1987 on Door of Faith Road. It has been ten years since I said Aloha to my precious home with its 50 coconut palms on three acres. I truly gave birth to a vision of living on a luscious tropical island in paradise.

I taught many, many workshops at Hale Akua Garden Farm Retreat Center near my home on Door of Faith Road… the last one over a decade ago. I’m ready for completion and closure with the Door of Faith, so I am returning to Hale Akua one last time to bring it all full circle with a women’s sexual awakening and healing retreat next April. This will be my final scheduled workshop as I’ll be moving to Central America shortly after this retreat.

Hale Akua means House of the Divine. It’s no mistake that so many lives have been transformed here, where the tropical trade winds blow away that which no longer serves you and the energies of Mama Maui infuse you with love, joy, beauty, pleasure, and truth. It’s the ultimate blessing, to live for a week in the perfection of nature… warm, moist, and nurturing to the very core of your soul. In this place, I have witnessed more miracles than I can recount.

To this day, I still hear from students who participated in one of the many weeklong retreats I had the privilege of teaching at Hale Akua. Were you one of them? I would love to hear about your Hale Akua experience in the comments below.

Aloha… it means hello, goodbye, and I love you.

Aloha, Caroline

PS. Please, my darling… please do not let this opportunity pass you by. It may very well be the last time I travel back to Maui to sit in sadhana with you and share my wisdom. There’s a super early-bird rate available through the end of October.

 

Sweetest Sorrows

John & Caroline youngI am quietly processing the passing of my only and dearest brother, my only and dearest sibling. His name was John Cusack. I called him Johnny from the day he was born, July 2nd, 1947.

Since his passing on July 1st, I can barely keep up with daily life, let alone tend to business, pay bills, or think straight. He was and will always be my best friend… my baby brother for nearly seventy years.

My little brother was placed in my arms when I was three and a half years old. I remember the moment so clearly. Our bond never weakened, but only grew. We survived the dysfunction of our family… we always had each other’s backs. The love between Johnny and Caroline was an indestructible force that carried us both through marriages, divorces, cross-country moves, the death of both of our parents, and the birth of at least five grandchildren (so far).

We never fought. The presence of unconditional love was never a question, yet always a balm of comfort for us both. I once accidentally set his house on fire! His response was gentle and with a soft smile, “Oh Caroline… now look what you’ve done!” Shaking his head, he brought me a cup of coffee and we praised the neighbors for seeing the flames and calling the Fire Department.

I saw myself as the mean (or more accurately, ‘less-loving’) older sister, but I also led him into much popularity when I was Captain of the Cheerleaders at our boarding school in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He was a hunk of a linebacker on our football team, The Panthers. Johnny was the best brother a girl could ever have, bar none!

Hot burning tears drop on my computer keys as I write this. They also plopped into my oysters at a downtown Portland oyster bar when I got the text from his beloved wife that “Johnny has passed.”We immediately ordered the best bottle of Champagne, as Johnny would have insisted on, before we found our Uber ride back to the hospital. My sweetheart Will was with me at the hospital for several days in the soft and quiet hours of our farewell to Johnny.

John & Caroline olderI never imagined experiencing that my next of kin would look intently into my eyes and declare, “I am ready to die. Go get those damn doctors in here and unhook me from all this crap. I want to die.” My response… “Darlin’, I am heading down the hall to get this job done.” As I resolutely exited his room, his wife arrived and assisted me in the task of alerting the hospital staff. Shortly after, the ‘drip’ began and all life support was removed. For three days we stroked and touched him lovingly as his dearly devoted mate poured her love into him and crawled into his bed to hold his body close to her throughout the eerie hospital nights.

I witnessed the presence of his beautiful, loving son and countless friends who came to sit by his side. The soft murmur of “Om Mani Padme Hum” Mantra was chanted to invoke the benevolent blessings of the embodiment of compassion by members of the Tibetan Buddhist Dharma Center. This was a vigil… a death ritual as moving as any celebration of life I have ever witnessed. One cannot live without the other. Life and Death are siblings as are brother and sister. I’m inspired now to begin my study of Tibetan Buddhism from home at Dharma Ocean.

May your Life begin again and again each moment of each day, Caroline

Oregon is one of only four states that has passed legal legislation around Death with Dignity… the FREEDOM of terminally ill people to make their own end-of-life DECISIONS.