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Friday, September 30, 2016

Hula...


Elliott rocking his Manaola Aloha Shirt after a long day of school and a night of hula on the USS Missouri for the Secretary of Defense and guests. So proud of him...

Maka...


I picked up my son Elliott at Kamehameha Schools tonight at 8:30 as he had a special hula performance. As we were leaving the parking lot, I stopped the car dead in its tracks. In the windy blown trees in front of us, a massive face appeared. Eyes, nose, gaping mouth, even missing teeth. The camera really doesn't do it justice. We both just sat there and stared at the kupuna as he undulated in the wind, mouth moving as if he was talking to us. Just humble amazement. A most precious and memorable Father-Son moment. Mahalo Ke Akua...

Lilinoe at the Nu'uanu Pali...


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ka Hali'a Aloha...


Remembering brother Jerry Norris on his Birthday today. Celebrating up in Heaven. He passed away almost a year ago. The trauma of seeing him go into cardiac arrest and be brought back to Life several times, until his wife had to finally let him die still haunts me. His beloved dog passed away today. Leaving his surviving wife all alone. Must keep her Spirit up as she misses him greatly, and her daily reminder of their Love, her loyal companion, now has left her as well.

Jerry loved going out to the schools with me for the mea Hawai'i presentations on Hawaiian history, values and culture. Here we are at Cathedral Catholic Academy where we presented to classes over several years. Now this school has closed down due to enrollment struggles. Saint Damien watches in the background. Ka Hali'a Aloha... The Loving Memory... Everything changes... Everything...

Kaka'ako Dreams...


'Ohana...


My two boys, Elliott and Koa, when they were small...helping to resist Injustice...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ola...


Simple...
Beautiful...
Irrepressible...
Life...

Monday, September 26, 2016

Love...


My phone rang tonight and I went out onto the lanai overlooking Honolulu to answer it. It was my Beautiful friend and brother, Robert Ebanez. He was calling from the ICU at Hilo Hospital where he was recently admitted. The respirator came out today and he could breath on his own. He is still struggling with congestive Heart failure and other ailments that unfortunately, many kānaka 'ōiwi suffer from. 

It truly is nothing short of miraculous that he is still with us, but admittedly in a very precarious state still. It was so good to hear his voice. A weakened voice, but a strong Spirit behind it. The first words we shared were expressions of our profound Love for each other. Not knowing how long the call would last, or other potential complications, we wasted no time in connecting with the most important affirmations first. 

We spoke about his Love for All. Especially his family on other islands who he misses terribly, to the point of tears. Also, his Love for the people who are praying for him, family, friends and strangers. He even spoke of, in his raspy weakened voice, those who have personally attacked him or otherwise criticized his words or actions. We talked about forgiveness and tolerance. About not taking things personally. About sending Love and Light to those who are learning Soul lessons at the expense of others. I could relate and shared how some people say things to bring you down, to assassinate your character, besmirch your name, or otherwise talk smack. It stems from envy, jealousy, fear, insecurities, and a host of other reasons. We become so Judgmental of each other. Putting each other down to temporarily and artificially lift ourselves up. 

Once you understand your purpose in Life, your Foundation of Ke Akua, the support of the Ancestors, you work to make Life better for all on this Shared Journey, such things bother you less, although the sting often remains. I shared how I honestly am more concerned with how the people on the Other side of the Veil will welcome me, and how Ke Akua will Judge my Heart, rather than how any living person walking the Earth judges me. 

He talked about Legacy, and cried when he thought his time might be too short to do all the Beautiful things he wants to do to help Hawai'i and especially his people. At times, I felt like I was talking to myself in the ICU in 2012 trying to sustain my own Spirit to keep the Will to Heal and Survive Alive. 

We laughed. We cried. We treasured each spoken word, and basked in the silence of the unspoken whispers of the Heart and Soul. I had been there before, unsure if I would live to see tomorrow's Sunrise. What matters in Life becomes quickly apparent. Love. Kindness. Compassion. Forgiveness. And More Love...

I shared with him that his Heart ailments may be similar to my own Heart issues last year and how I needed to Love myself more, Forgive myself, Replenish the Well-Spring, the Punawai of the Love I give so freely to Others, in order to Heal my own Heart. That was the advice from the Spirit World from Gifted Friends. Still working on that aspect. Brother Bobby is trying his best too. To survive another day. To try his best to make the most of this Ephemeral Life. To Heal His Heart. Love you brother. You got this...

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Mercy...


This poor red potato was sad and depressed because he had a cut on his cheek under his eye. So to end his suffering, I peeled him, boiled him and ate him...

Hula at 'Aha Kāne...







'Aha Kāne...


Pele and Kamapua'a...


Tiny Bubbles...


E Maka'ala Kākou...


Hula at Helumoa...



Loea...


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Halihali Kūpuna...


It was in the late 1990’s when I was working for the State of Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources Historic Preservation Division Burial Sites Program, that we had received a request from the Superintendent of the Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Park to assist them with putting several hundred iwi kūpuna to a final rest. The remains of men, women and children had been sitting in cardboard boxes for decades, on old wooden shelves in the entrance of a secured cave. They had been excavated and collected many years before during various projects to establish the park and its facilities. 

My two coworkers, Kana‘i and Kalaʻau, and I embarked on a week long journey to the sacred place of refuge. A puʻuhonua, a place where one who broke a kapu, a sacred law, could flee to, and find sanctuary from the kaʻane strangulation cord, or the newa, a club to the head. The park staff, and ‘ohana from the area, mobilized for the effort. We stayed near the park in a cabin and awoke early each morning. 

Two teams were set up to take care of each box of iwi. Kana‘i and I on one table. Kalaʻau and Tom on the other. Tom was a park ranger and ‘ohana from that area. The Superintendent of the park, a Native Hawaiian herself, felt much ‘eha and kaumaha at the situation she inherited and her first commitment was to properly take care of these kūpuna. After much pule, much prayer, we began the process. 

We could only prepare the kūpuna in the earliest of morning before the Sun arose over the cliffs and shone down on the coastal area. Everyone working at the park had a role, from cooking breakfast, to transporting, to keeping records of each kūpuna bound up and wrapped. The park firefighters burned the boxes as they were emptied and eventually the wooden shelves that were no longer needed. ‘Ohana from the area helped gather pili grass and clean and sort it for the soft bedding on the hard lava tube floor that would serve as a place of final repose. 

The first day, we took care of about 100 kūpuna with the two teams. Carefully receiving, placing and opening each box. Carefully and lovingly taking each bone out and arranging them anatomically correct before bundling the whole person up and tying them with cord. Full bodies ended up looking like a kaʻai, with head and torso. They would then be placed in a lauhala ‘eke, or basket and again tied up. The next morning, we wrapped another 100 kūpuna before the Sun lit up the area. To get the task done, we had to wrap the iwi with a steady pace. 

I remember working so fast and steadily that my mind began to wander as my hands went to work automatically, almost without aforethought. It wasn’t until I opened one box containing a very small toddler’s remains. I remember looking down and seeing a small pair of brown leather shoes down by his feet bones. I erupted into tears as I thought of my own newborn son, and the unfathomable loss of a young child so young. 

I tenderly and methodically took each of his little bones and arranged them carefully to put him back together the best I could. I then put his shoes on the bottom of the bundle before wrapping and tying him up. I handed him to another person who was responsible for keeping track of each body and putting them back on the shelf temporarily until they we were ready to kanu, or bury them in the back of the cave. 

Each night, as the park closed, we would go down to the beach, and out onto the reef. There was a beautiful large tidal pool that we could enter and float in the darkness under the canopy of stars. It was very dark. The foam from the waves would flow down a channel and enter the pool every other minute and churn the water. Small fish would peck on your arms, legs and back while we floated and reflected upon the day’s events, and the next day’s mission. 

We could see Hale o Keawe in the distance in the dark. I thought about the Mana and sacredness of that Beautiful place. Of Kamehameha, Kaʻahumanu, and all of the Aliʻi who walked the shores. Keawe‘īkekahiali‘iokamoku, and the other Ali‘i buried in Hale o Keawe with the akua ka‘ai (stick gods), akua hulu manu (feathered gods) ‘ahu‘ula (feathered capes), the woven sennit human shaped ka‘ai containing the sacred iwi, the bones, of so many sacred Chiefs and Rulers. I thought about who may have soaked in the tidal pool, over the past several hundred years, at night, like us, gazing upon the Heavens. 

I thought about the fortunate ones who made it to the sanctuary, chased by the ‘ilamuku, and preserving their own sacred life. Those who barely escaped the horror of war. I thought about the gratitude and love of their ‘ohana for the preservation of their Life. I also thought about those who never made it in time, and who lost their lives in horrific ways. 

I thought about Forgiveness. About Redemption. We also thought about the lives of the people we were taking care of. Their struggles. Their successes. Their fears. Their experiences. Their Love. Their deaths. I knew we were being watched each night by a pantheon of akua, kupua, kūpuna and other unseen beings and entities in this very potent place. We were always on our best and most respectful behavior. 

The next day, we finished up the rest of the kūpuna and then planned the actual reinterment ceremony which would take place the following morning. The logistics were well thought out. All the park staff and ‘ohana from the area would participate.

That next morning, after the pule and protocol, we had everyone line up, mostly arranged from tallest to shortest. The cave narrowed inside and the ceiling also lowered the further one went back closest to a large flat ledge that would serve as the final resting place for about 250 kūpuna. 

We had park staff from Hawai‘i and those from the continent. We had about 25 Hawaiians, Filipinos, Haole, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, and just about every ethnic mix you could find in Hawai’i standing in that line going into the cave. The iwi kūpuna pū‘olo, or bundles, in the ‘eke lauhala, were ceremoniously passed, one by one, to the back where the soft bed of pili grass had been carefully laid down on the lava shelf. 

Everyone was quiet as each kūpuna passed through each person’s hands, and onto the next person. Sometimes the people who were arranging each bundle on the pili grass, would take a little time to arrange them properly, and the line would stall, and people would stand in the darkened lava tube, in reflective silence, holding a kūpuna in their arms. 

After more than an hour of transferring the kūpuna into the cave and laying them down, we had finished. Some people had to bend down to fit in their part of the cave, and heat built up, so most of us were dripping sweat from the heat and physical exertion. When the last kūpuna came in, we had everyone squeeze towards the back of the cave so we could all be within eyesight and earshot of each other. The cave was lit here and there with a few lanterns, but for most part, it remained dark with just enough light to make out the forms and shapes of people in flickering shadows. 

After a long reflective silence, where the only sounds you could here were the deep breaths of some participants still recovering from the exertion, the Superintendent was the first to speak up. She expressed her deepest gratitude for everyone’s help in assisting not only the park and the ‘ohana, but her personally to take care of the kūpuna under her watch, under her care, and to help bring closure. It was emotional and heartfelt. 

I could hear the sound of sniffles as I knew that tears were falling here and there in the darkness of that cave. After reflective silences, another person would find the courage to speak up and share. Always words of gratitude, of how meaningful the task and experience was. How it changed lives. How seeing everyone work together was so beautiful. 

At some point, I was standing there, hunched over a large lava boulder, propping my tired body up with my hand, gazing upon the rows and rows of lauhala ‘eke spread out before me, feeling the warmth and sweat of those others who were pressed up against me as we all stood there together in that cave. Then seemingly out of nowhere, the most intense emotions entered my body and I couldn’t help but erupt into sobbing. 

The emotion was so intense that I couldn't stop crying, and I tried to suppress the sounds in that quiet cave which only made it worse. I could feel people looking around in the dark, listening to the sobbing and I was somewhat embarrassed in my unsuccessful attempt to suppress the sounds. The person next to me rubbed my back and I worked my hardest to regain my composure. I could still hear others sniffling and fighting back their own tears. Some quietly letting them flow protected by the anonymity of the darkness. 

After all who wanted to speak or share, did, we did a final pule, and systematically exited the cave. The last of ancient rickety wooden shelves were removed to be burned. The last three to exit the cave were Kana‘i, Kala‘au and I. We lingered, letting most of the participants make their way down the rocky dirt trail which led everyone back towards the park buildings. 

As soon as we were finished, a park maintenance worker was waiting to seal up the metal gate that had been installed at the cave entrance. Kana‘i said he could offer a chant, but he wasn’t that confident that it would sound good enough as he shared with us. Kala‘au and I encouraged him, and pleaded with him, to please do it anyway, for the kūpuna. To close the cave with Aloha. For them. Not for us. 

Kana’i prepared himself and entered the cave again, about half-way down the entrance. As Kala‘au and I stood there, the echoing sounds of Kana’i’s voice came out of the darkened cave. A voice that was transformed into an ancient undulating and emotional wailing. A soulful sorrowful sound resonating with a love from time immemorial. 

Kala‘au and I just stood there letting the tears flow down in silence. Kana’i slowly exited the cave, backwards, continuously facing the kūpuna, until he was next to us, and his oli, his chant, resolved into a fading soft expression of undulating Aloha. 

We embraced each other, and let our tears cascade down to mix with our sweaty bodies in a release of energy and pent up emotions. 

In the aftermath of this massive undertaking, I had learned that the park had been having its share of morale and personnel conflicts, but that the superintendent later shared with me that the week long effort had brought everyone very close to each other and that a lot of the bad energy and personal conflicts between people had resolved. The air in the park was much lighter. I was so very grateful. 

And it wasn’t until many years later, after working on the reburials of hundreds of other kūpuna, that I realized something very profound. I had always wondered where the intense sadness and grief came from, that touched my na'au, that final day in the cave, at the end of the kanu, that made me sob bent over uncontrollably. Where and who was it coming from? I often thought about it. That is until I had more experiences and revelation. 

It was then that I realized that the emotions I was feeling, wasn’t sadness and grief. It was Love. A Love unlike the Love we feel and express here on Earth. It was a powerful Spiritual Love. A Love filled with unconditional gratitude, from the deceased, that ‘ohana, and strangers, representing such a diverse group of ethnicities, religions, views, values, beliefs, a hodge-podge mixture of Humanity, could put aside all their differences, and work together, for the simple common goal of celebrating Love. Aloha kekahi i kekahi. Love One Another...

To lovingly take care of these beautiful ancestors. Together. To acknowledge the shared Humanity of  the lives of the people that these bones represented. To acknowledge the lives of each other, the living. Coming together and doing something that in the large scheme of history and the World, may not seem terribly important. 

But in the Loving Spirit, which showed the World, that people can come together and accomplish Beautiful Healing things. Together. By acknowledging the Amazing Humanity of each other. The Sacredness of Life. Through their Hearts. Hearts that can become a Pu‘uhonua for the conflict and suffering in the World. A Beautiful Healing Place of Peaceful Loving Refuge. 

And I know when it comes time for me to pass on, I look forward to the Loving Embrace, of one little Beautiful Hawaiian boy. A loving embrace that I have already felt once. In a dark cave. That caused me to sob. A Beautiful little Hawaiian boy with little brown leather shoes...

Friday, September 23, 2016

Maka...


No'ono'o...


So much going on in the World...
So many Loved Ones Transitioning...
So many Lessons Arriving...
I had to Reflect Deeply Tonight...
Quietly Alone...
To Hear the Whispers...
Of the Universe...

Healing...


Love Yourself...
Forgive Yourself...
Celebrate and Cherish...
Then Lovingly Release...
All the Regretful Choices...
And Sorrowful Decisions...
In this Life...
That Truly Made You...
The Beautiful and Amazing You...
We All Love...

Kūlia...


Strive...

Hula...


'Onipa'a...


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Perspective...


I went to go see Tony tonight. His scoliosis in his spine has gotten worse such that he really can't sit up properly anymore. It puts all my so-called problems into perspective. Humbly Grateful for so many Blessings. Humbly Grateful for knowing Tony and his struggles in this Life that he shares. Many circumstances, decisions and choices throughout his Life led him to this sorrowful and dire purgatory of suffering. I don't Judge him however. I just help out when and where I can to sustain his Body. And most importantly, I always let him know how much I Love him...to sustain his Soul...

Noho...


Ne'epapa...


Maka...


I was sitting in my parked car thinking about things and I felt like someone was watching my every move. Please forgive the awful cell phone photo shot through the windshield...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ernie Cruz Jr. at Kapalua...





Ka Hali'a Aloha...






The Loving Memory...
Love you brother Ernie...

Pilialoha...


Hula...


'Ike Hawai'i...


A most Beautiful afternoon of sharing 'ike Hawai'i, Hawaiian culture, history and values, with students and faculty at Damien Memorial School, utilizing nā mea Hawai'i...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Twilight...


Ahiahi: To become Evening...
Ahi: Fire...

The Swimming Dead...


My favorite television show...

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hula...


Love's Secret Garden...