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On one of our last days on the island of Kauai we toured the Hindu temple. I was drawn to the magnificent Banyan tree (planted back in 1959) and I spent significant time within it as I tried to find stillness… stillness that was constantly interrupted by my energetic wild child who was running around the forest like Tarzan. I had to laugh because sometimes her age makes moments like this one briefly frustrating but I quickly came to realize that she’s only two and that she had no idea what she was disrupting. I simply sat back and watched her playful self smile and run around with excitement. Once in a while her little feet would come to a stop and she would ask me about the branches. I could tell that she was occasionally captivated by the beauty of the tree as much as I was.

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Standing under the Banyan Tree. Note the flat stone in the left of the photo. Six of these were offered to visitors as places where you could sit and meditate.

 

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The grounds of the sanctuary were beautiful. Tropical trees and plants surrounded the area and little ponds of water and various fountains were nestled throughout the gardens.

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Taking Ellie inside the temple was a learning opportunity and it helped to teach her patience and respect. She wanted to ask questions faster than I could answer them, she wanted to ride the statues and she thought that the smoke from the incense was fascinating. Here I was trying to learn a thing or two about the temple myself and yet Ellie was my primary focus. In the middle of the room there were colorful spheres made of stone. They glistened in the light and caught Ellie’s eye. For a moment she was entranced by them but that quickly turned into her wanting to pick them up. I sat her down near the stones and through a whisper I explained that they were beautiful, that they symbolized the planets of our solar system and that they were not to be touched. I encouraged her to appreciate them with her eyes and quietly talk to me about the different colors she saw. She tried her very best to be respectful and I was proud of her. I could tell that it was not easy for her to supress her innate energy but she was clearly trying. I’m certain that the next time she encounters a similar situation she’ll be all the more prepared to summon her inner calm. It’s moments and experiences like these that I want to introduce her to throughout our travels. I would like for her to be as open minded and understanding as one can be. I want her to have a wide variety of cultural experiences and I want her to appreciate the beauty in other people’s way of life. The monks at the temple befriended her and I believe that opportunities like this one will help shape her into a creative and diverse individual as she grows older.

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