Day 616 – Thankful for Choosing the Lens Through Which I View the World, Part 1: Champagne Ponds

Just a heads up, yes, this blog post includes the phrase “Part 1.”  Just a hunch, but I’m guessing I’m going to come back to this overall concept one day so I’m going to leave this open ended…  

Isn’t interesting how we each have the ability to choose the lens through which we view the world?  Events and things happen all the time.  In of themselves they’re neither good nor bad, they just are.  The context and flavor are added by us and are entirely up to us.  Sometimes we find an event as being tragic and sad because that’s how we’ve chosen to see it.  Often times we don’t even realize it’s a choice, it’s more of a default that our brain goes to.  Our brains can process things more easily and quickly when we allow them to go into default mode and categorize the event without our putting thought into it.  The beauty to this is that we always have the ability to choose a different perspective when we view a specific event.  It is wholly up to us to determine how we see an event.  Good or bad, happy or sad, awesome or tragic.

The reason I am thankful for this awareness today is due to news from one of my favorite places in the entire world, the Champagne Ponds in Kapoho Bay on the big Island of Hawaii.  An incredible slice of nature in which the pools alongside the ocean are heated to bath water like temperatures due to geothermal activity.  In them you can snorkel, chill, and find so many awesome species of ocean life from sea turtles to eels (the inspiration for my tattoo) to puffer fish and everything in between.  They were nothing short of amazing.

When we went on our trip to Hawaii we rented a house with one of the many interconnected pools right in the backyard.  Our first morning in Hawaii I was up before sunrise and floating in the beautifully warm water.  Throughout the week much time was spent just relaxing in those pools.  I swam closer to a sea turtle than I’ve done since and saw so many beautifully colored fish and eels.  As I think about it I can feel my shoulders relax and drop along with my heart rate.  It was so relaxing to just float in that water.

Today those beautiful champagne ponds were completely swallowed up by the most recent lava flow.  Within 24ish hours they were just gone, vanished, disappeared as though they never existed.  Now there’s a flow of lava that’s filled them all in, taken all of the houses with it, and it now pouring into the ocean.

As one could imagine my initial feeling was one of deep loss.  One of my favorite places in the world was gone, never to return.  No return trip.  No chance to show the boys one of the things I was so excited to show them when we take them to Hawaii this December.  No way of ever experiencing the relaxing sensation of floating in the warm waters.  I felt great loss and sadness.

My mind quickly realized the trap I was falling into and I knew I had to look at this through a different lens.  I had to view it with gratitude and see it as something positive.  The damage had already been done, no point in allowing myself to hurt and cause more damage and pain.  With that in mind I quickly started thinking about all of the things I was grateful for in this event.  Here are some of those I came up with:

  • I’m thankful for having experienced the Champagne Ponds in the first place.  I know the sensations I felt, I have the memories of that bliss, and I took the opportunity while it was present and savored every moment.  No lava flow can ever take that away.
  • I’m thankful for the reminder of the sheer awesome power of nature.  Seeing videos of the lava taking everything in it’s path is a wonderful reminder of how small we all truly are in the big picture.
  • I’m thankful for the reason to have a great conversation with my boys.  When we talked about it they were both quick to point out how lucky I was to have been there before it was gone.  Dominic reminded me that it’s also pretty cool when you think that I was able to see something incredible there once and now there will be something else amazing to see in it’s place – the world’s way of constantly changing up the scenery for our enjoyment.  Gavin pointed out how cool it was that the island is getting bigger so there will be more to explore.  Right on boys!
  • I’m thankful that Becky didn’t let me up and leave to move there like I wanted to back in 2013.  It would have been an awesome 5 years of living there, but choosing my perspective would have been way more difficult if our home was swallowed up or worse.
  • I’m thankful for friends with common mindsets.  After texting everyone the news Katie sent the following, “That makes me so sad, but grateful at the same time that we got to experience it.”  She hit the nail on the head!  It’s great knowing that I have friends who also can take something and find the positive in it.

Of course I wish the Champagne Ponds were still around, they were incredible!  That said, The Big  Dude Upstairs had other plans and I’m going to roll with them.  Today I’m grateful that I (and all of us) have the ability to choose the lens through which we choose to see the world.  When I use that gift correctly I’m continually surprised by the joy I find all around me…  even in the darkest of events.


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