Have you ever wondered about the magical joy that exists in the wide-eyed inquisitive mind of a child? Do you question as an adult if this mystical incisive curiosity and zest to experience the joy of life dies?

That mystical magic lies waiting dormant and if one opens up to the experience of feeling joy, it bursts and blossoms like that of a crocus on a warm spring afternoon. I found that feeling, that sense of wonder and joy of just purely being alive when I treated myself to “The Dolphin Retreat” that I attended just this past February.

For one whole week eleven other participants and myself experienced the majesty of all the beautiful energies of the Big Island of Hawaii. We stayed in an exquisite guest home nestled on a point of a serene aqua green bay. Our days were filled with sensuous adventures, informative guest speakers, delightful entertainers, and sumptuous gourmet vegetarian meals. Each aspect of the retreat thoughtfully planned to engage one into the alluring energies of all that is to experience on this paradise island.

The dawning of each day began with a short meditation, a communal message of thanks for the grace of a new day and a silent offering to the sea gods for the grace of the presence of the dolphins. Snorkel gear in hand we would scamper down to the sea edge. Skillful swim assistants gently encouraged and aided those that struggled with trepidation of the water. Together in our pods we swam lazily in the cradle of the warm sea salt waters. Landlubbers and water babies alike delighted in the mysterious rapture of the under water world and all its life forms.

Just as it is respectful to honor human space, so too is it to honor the presence of the dolphins. Behold, as these beautiful angels of the sea invite you to play in their habitat, it is as magical as the birth of new life. I found myself in awe at the majesty of their presence and giggled in delight watching their joyful, playful antics.

Our afternoons and evenings were filled with still more gracious adventure. Walking barefoot on the sacred grounds of Hawaiian history, exploring the steaming volcanic rocks of a latent volcano, hiking through vast landscapes of dense tropical jungle and cascading waterfalls, and a boat excursion to visit the many resting spots of the humpback whale and bottle nosed dolphin. Guest local artists shared the nature of their creativity. Scientists, historians, painters, poets, musicians and healing artists unfolded the magic of this truly nurturing energy of the Hawaiian way of being.

The week came to an end and with regret we said our good-byes. Wistful nostalgia washed over each individual as we realized the incredible week that we had all experienced together. The Dolphin Retreat is a Gift of a Lifetime where one encounters the ultimate experience in playful union, not only with the dolphins, but also in connection with the SELF and all universal Oneness of Being.

- Jan Butts