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🧘🏻‍♀️ Letter 71: Monthly Reflection, Understanding Poetry, Byodo-In Temple, Ricochet

7 min

What habit would you like to try this month that would make your future self proud?

Aloha fellow learn-it-all

Greetings from Waikiki, Hawai'i 🌺

I have gone fully rogue on my quitting of caffeine last December. I joined a coffee membership at this beautiful cafe that I have been working at every day. It is such a vibe. I love it.

If you are new here or missed last week's edition, you can catch up on the past letters here. If you are reading this for the first time, I’d love you to sign up below to join the other learn-it-alls:

Now, let’s dive into letter 71 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!

🖊 Writing

I went back and read through my journal entries from the past month.

I pulled out these highlights and patterns to learn from for my Monthly Review of July 2021:

What I loved

What I lacked

What I learned

🎧 Listening

I listened to the podcast “The Boundaries of Self” on my mediation app Waking Up with poet and writer David Whyte and Sam Harris. It was thought provoking to lean in and rewind multiple times these bits around poetry, identity and finding balance in life. Here are some reflections:

🏖 Hawaii Update

Diamond Head is a volcanic cone that lies on the southern coastline of O'ahu. This is known to Hawaiians as Lēʻahi. The Hawaiian name is derived from lae plus ʻahi because the shape of the ridge line resembles the shape of a tuna's dorsal fin.

There was a helicopter that zoomed down while I entered the crater with my students. The park ranger told me this was the 20th person that got airlifted from the site this year. There is no shade and folks that come forget to drink water and pass out due to it.

The view has one of the finest I have seen of Waikiki, where I've been living. Here's the whole gang of us:

I kayaked to the Mokulua islands off of Kailua on the north side of the island.

Wowzers the waves up there are choppy. There were about 15 to 16 knots of air and a couple of the students couldn't make it. Nearly a week later and my arms are still sore. When we got there, I saw an endangered monk seal and got to jump off a cliff! Talk about a rush. Surprisingly the second time was more scary than the first time. Watching the tides for a bit and having a countdown is essential to actually take the plunge.

Floating in the tide pool on the island made me feel like the Little Mermaid. As for the way kayaking back was much more of a breeze going with the waves.

🔎 Word to define

Ricochet: a shot or hit that rebounds one or more times off a surface

The action or movement of a bullet, shell, or other projectile when rebounding off a surface


In earliest French use (15c.) "verbal to-and-fro," and only in the phrase fable du ricochet, an entertainment in which the teller of a tale skillfully evades questions, and chanson du ricochet, a kind of repetitious song; of uncertain origin

In 1758, originally in a military sense, from French _ricochet_ (n.) "the skipping of a shot, or of a flat stone on water"


As I go out on the surf, I see what looks like wave after wave ricocheting off of the reefs. These create for some nasty breakers.

🌟 Quote to inspire

"Every opportunity is attached to a person. Opportunities do not float like clouds in the sky. They’re attached to people. If you’re looking for an opportunity — including one that has a financial payoff — you’re really looking for a person." - Ben Casnocha

❓ Question to think about

What habit would you like to try this month that would make your future self proud?

📷 Photo of the Week

Today with my cousin Christa who just flew in and with some students planned a spontaneous trip to the Byodo-In Temple. It is a replica of the original in Uji, Japan over 950 years ago. The temple here in O’ahu was formally dedicated in 1968 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.

It was absolutely gorgeous. It looked straight out of a movie.

I rang the bon-sho (or sacred bell) twice with the shumoku (wooden log) for some extra good luck.

The most recent mindfulness meeting consisting of meditation, journaling, reflection and discussion was held here. It left us feeling serene, lighter and grateful. The resonating sound helps to remind us that everything in life is transitory.

We were there all the way until the temple closed at 5pm and I wish I could’ve stayed longer. The Koi fish in the pond are overweight though and don’t need any more food.

🙏 Shoutout

To my cousin Christa for arriving here in Honolulu safely and already being such a hoot to have around. She's helped me realize how novel and blessed I am to be able to sunset surf and eat the freshest fish all within the same hour.

I appreciate you reading this! If certain ideas resonated or you have feedback to improve my future newsletters, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet. If you want to learn more about who I am, I welcome you to visit my online home.

Never stop learning 😁

Mahalo 🌺


👣 Footnotes

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