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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Refuge...


After four and a half months out of the office working on my Health, it was truly nice to return to work, and especially to my office, my Pu'uhonua, my Place of Refuge. I missed my Spiritual hoa Aloha in there. Some whom I have had by my side Guiding and Protecting me for my entire Life. Humbly grateful...

Love...


"Mālama Kō Aloha..."
"Keep Your Love..."

Chiefess Manono
Battle at Kuamo'o
1819

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Hula...


Friday, October 26, 2018

Ola Hiwahiwa...


Precious Life...

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Huhū...


Angry...

Oli...



Chant...

Refuge...


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Ahi...


The Smoldering Embers of Kū...

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Nutmeg Mannikin...


Just Dance...


Ola...










It was interesting to see these Native 'Apapane birds foraging on the highly invasive and noxious Glory Weed, or Tibouchina, that has formed impenetrable thickets in the Volcano area of Hawai'i Island.  The 'Apapane would land on the blossoms and eat little caterpillars residing there. Hopefully caterpillars from an equally invasive moth. Adapt. Survive. Thrive. Life will Always Find a Way...

Monday, October 22, 2018

Experiences...


They say in Life, you should spend money on Experiences, and less on acquiring and accumulating Possessions. When you are at the End of Life, you will value Treasured Memories of Time spent with Loved Ones, experiencing moments, rather than looking at material possessions or any accumulation of so called Wealth. 

With that in mind, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to attend the Def Leppard concert and bring along my two sons. My oldest son, Elliott, enjoys rock music and plays the guitar. He is starting to learn the electric guitar as well so I knew that he would enjoy his first concert ever. His younger brother, Koa, wasn't as enthused. He rather stay home and play computer strategy games with his friends. I made him go however. He had never been to a concert either. 

My wife bowed out, unless Journey was going to play as well as they and Def Leppard did a joint tour on the continent. Journey opted out of Hawai'i this time. So I brought my good friend, John, who I have known for three decades and who always has been my drummer when I played rock music.

I, myself, hadn't been to a concert in three decades. I wanted to have an experience with my two sons that they would remember for the rest of their lives. As would I.

It was Awesome. Deafening loud. Just as I remembered from the many concerts I attended while in college. It brought back so many memories. 

I felt a little foolish when I first walked into the arena with my bright orange ear plugs sticking out of my ears as we tried to find our seats. I felt even more foolish when I struck up a conversation with the couple next to me and we couldn't hear each other because the man, about my age, was wearing ear plugs too. We both had a good laugh.

I eventually pulled my earplugs out to enjoy the decibel onslaught.

Every emotion and memory I could muster cycled through my Head, and Heart, as the band erupted onto the stage and song after song rocked the arena. Not much changed in 30 years. There seemed to be more security now, and police officers walking back and forth watching the crowd. 

One fight broke out down in front of us but was short lived. Another fight broke out way above us in the nosebleed section. Other than that, it seemed like everyone was in good Spirits.

I knew my sons enjoyed the Shock and Awe of it all. The music. The Star power. The lights and lasers. The smoke. The pounding drums. The distorted guitars. The bass guitar rattling your viscera as you sat there. The raucous combined voices of thousands of people screaming in unison. It was everything I had ever hoped for their first concert. 

They both wanted t-shirts after, even Koa. That's when I knew that I had won him over.

I remember I used to drink alcohol with my best rocker friends before we went to the concerts in college. So many big name bands. Me always dreaming about one day being up on the stage. 

I remember one concert, maybe Motley Crue, where I had worn my blue jeans which were bleached white. Glo-sticks were relatively new, and one broke and spilled all over my pants. My pants were then glowing. So I broke the rest of my glo-sticks and poured them all over my clothes. 

I ran around the arena walkway, dancing, from end to end, back and forth, as the glowing man. I don't remember security or police being there, or anyone making me sit back down in my seat. This all from the guy who was so debilitatingly shy and self-conscious, that I couldn't strike up a simple conversation with a girl in college without my Heart trying to break out of my chest and losing my breath. Liquid courage at its finest.

Another time, I was headed to another concert, leather jacket, spikes and all. My good friend stopped in the middle of throngs of people walking on the grass and sidewalk to the arena, and pulled me on the side. He then lifted the back of his jacket and shirt, and I could see that he had a gun in his waistband. Loaded as I later found out. 

We went to the concert and rocked out fortunately without incident. I felt extra secure that night as the fear of getting into a fight, or getting mobbed after the concert was always a concern. Truly the inane recklessness of a young delusional mind filled with bravado and a yearning for danger and excitement. I have learned, in my maturity now, to celebrate and seek the ordinary and mundane. Too much to lose in Life. Including Life itself.

We will be headed into Halawa and Waiawa Correctional Facilities in November for the observance of Makahiki Ceremonies with the inmates. I pass no Judgment. I understand the scourge of mind altering substances. The bad decisions that we all can make, of which fate turns the wheel, of which some of us emerge unscathed, while others end up forfeiting their Freedom and forever changing the Lives of everyone they ever Loved.

So in the end, my two boys had an Experience of their Lifetime. I was so Blessed to have Experienced it with them. My drummer friend John and I relived powerful Memories and revisited a time in our Lives that seemed like another Life and a distant past. A formative past however. I share true stories of my past with my sons, not so they emulate it, but they understand the important lessons I learned, hopefully to save them from making similar bad decisions.

One of the last songs the pre-show DJ blasted out of the speaker system before Def Leppard came onto the stage, was "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode, sung by Marilyn Manson. When I heard the refrain blasting, tears filled my eyes. I looked at my son Elliott, and mouthed the words, "What a ho'ailona..." I was thinking about my encounter with Freddie the other day. And my own Journey in Life.

And I was once again reminded that there aren't only Good and Bad people in the World. That each of us can be good, as we can be bad as well. There are thousands of choices in adolescence to be made on that precarious and formative Journey. I can only Pray that my two boys will continue to choose well. That is all I humbly ask for. They are my Life. They are my Redemption...

As we were driving home, I heard Koa in the backseat ask his brother, Elliott, quietly, "What was that last song they played before Def Leppard came on stage?" Elliott responded, "Personal Jesus." Then Koa punched it into his phone and saved it.

Rock On...

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Bad Drivers...


I parked in a stall at the grocery store and was exiting my car when a vehicle quickly pulled into the open stall next to me, nearly hitting my opening door, and causing me to quickly close it. I was upset at the recklessness and quickly got out of my car to confront the other driver. "Where did you get your Driver's License? From a cereal box!?" The other driver quickly locked the doors, and just sat there with a blank stare. Hopeless. I gave up, took the high-road and just went shopping...

Friday, October 19, 2018

Love...


Today I was driving down the road in traffic caught up in a swirl of deep thoughts. So many seemingly unrelenting and insurmountable challenges in Life. I continue to surrender wholly to the Divine. To the Holy Spirit. To Aloha. Complete Trust. Lest I Perish. 

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of a disheveled man in a wheelchair on the side of the street as I sped by. Freddie I excitedly and momentarily thought. I wasn't sure if it was him as by the time I could look in my sideview mirror, he was blocked from view. 

I continued to drive plotting how to make enough turns to eventually circle back and run past that man again. I prayed it was Freddie. I hadn't seen him in over a year and had been worried about his welfare.

I first met Freddie in 2013, five years ago while walking to work and it turned out to be one of my most memorable Spiritual encounters and a powerful Lesson for me. Our paths crossed again in 2015, right before my Heart surgery and that encounter, and Freddie's Prayers for me, as he stood their covered in black dirt from head-to-toe, as we embraced, helped me to not only survive that surgery, but thrive as well since then. 

As I drove up this time, I slowed down, straining to see this man's face. It was Freddie. I couldn't believe it. I slowly pulled up and the only metered space right next to him opened up as the car pulled out. I slid in and waited anxiously for Freddie to see me. He threw his arms up in the air, rocked his head back and forth, and grinned from ear-to-ear. I smiled as wide as I could as well as my Heart filled with Joy.

I got out and gave him a giant hug as I let him know how much I missed him. He kept smiling and laughing, despite presenting himself in one of the most sorry sights I have seen on the street. He kept saying, "Thank you Jesus! Oh man! What a Blessing!"

I quickly learned that about a year ago, he had taken a bad fall on the street. He really hurt his hip. About two months into the injury, which steadily worsened, his hip was turning septic and it got really infected. Someone called 911 despite his protests and he ended up in the hospital for six months. 

He had developed a blood clot in his leg that was inoperable and gangrene had already set in. As he sat there in his wheelchair, he pulled up his small blanket, and where I had thought he had one leg folded up underneath him, he showed me the stump where the doctors had removed his leg above the knee. 

I was so saddened to see him in that condition, but so very grateful that he was still alive. He lamented the loss of his leg and talked about the intense pain he still felt, phantom pain, from a foot that was no longer there. Like a foot burning on fire as he described it.

He then smiled and showed me a container of what looked like shoyu chicken that a young woman had just bought and dropped off with him, unsolicited.  He said, "Wasn't that nice of her? Thank you God."

Despite his dirty appearance, his eyes were bright and clear. As was his voice, continuing to proclaim his Faith in Christ. Kind. Humbled. Gracious. Grateful. That is how I always knew him, and he seemed to still be that person despite the physical, mental and emotional suffering he continued to endure. 

He regretfully admitted that he is still struggling with Meth when I flat out asked him. He said he knows it is insidious. It is his only escape and reprieve right now. It makes him feel like Superman he said, if only for a brief while, until he crashes back down to his grim reality. 

He said he never felt so dirty in his entire Life. Sometimes he is so exhausted and delirious that he ends up urinating on himself in his chair because he can't get up in time. He said he had a bout of diarrhea for a week and kept soiling himself, having to sit in his own filth until he could find a clean pair of shorts. I could see him embarrassed to speak his Truth, as his voice quieted down, and his head lowered.

I reassured him that even those of us with roofs and indoor plumbing can suffer the same indignation of this Human Experience. He shouldn't be ashamed. We discussed his clothing needs and waist size so I can assemble a care package, unbeknownst to him.

We talked about his case managers and his upcoming opportunity to get into a rehab program, and qualify for shelter, but he admitted that his meth usage makes it harder for him to remember his appointments and any semblance of a schedule. Days just flow into each other.

As we talked, a nice dressed man in his late twenties stopped by with a grocery bag which had a bottle of water, a Zip-Pac meal and a few other things. Freddie smiled and looked up yelling "thank you brother!" The young man looked at me, as he continued walking by, straining to look back, as I sat in a broken chair next to Freddie, holding his hands, "Looks like we both have the same idea" he yelled, smiling.

I responded, "Yes brother. Thank you so much! Truly!"

Freddie said, "You see. I am grateful that people show such kindness. Now that I am in a wheelchair, people are even more kind."

We continued to talk. Freddie would look up at just about every passerby and give them a Hearty "Hi!" with his infectious missing teeth smile. Some people just pretended not to have seen him, or not to have heard him, and quickened their pace as they walked by. 

I reassured him, that it wasn't him, it was because I was sitting there next to him. I could present a very intimidating wretched sight myself. We both laughed. 

Freddie was tired, as he yawned frequently, and his eyes strained at times to stay open. I knew that he needed to eat something, as did he, as he began reaching for his plate of chicken. So I asked him if we could pray before he ate as I had to resume my journey. He smiled and said that he would love it. 

We sat there, holding hands. I Prayed my Heart out. We both let the tears fall freely, as people seemingly slowed their pace as they walked past such a sight.

I helped him open his chicken container and let him know he had a bottle of cold water in the other bag that the man had dropped off. 

He started eating his chicken as he was so ravenous. I asked him what he wanted to drink besides water. He talked about how he had tried this ginger drink and it was so refreshing for his body. I asked him if it was the "Ginger Rush" drink. He broke out in a big smile and exclaimed, "Yes! That's the one! That ginger is so good for me. It makes me feel so good..."

I told him that I would be right back and if he needed anything else. He said thank you and that would be all he would like.

So I drove around the block and made my way to a grocery store, and bought the biggest "Ginger Rush" I could find. By the time I got back, which was about fifteen minutes later, he was passed out in his chair, chicken bones on the little wood box next to him, and pieces of uneaten chicken sitting in the container. His head back, mouth wide open, and snoring. I felt bad having to wake him, as I know in his Dreams he has his leg again, and a better Life.

As I exited my car and the door closed, he opened his eyes, somewhat startled, and I smiled and said "Here is your ginger drink" as I opened the top for him. He had told me earlier about how he had lost his fingernails so it was hard to do things. I had tried to look but only saw blackened dirty finger tips. He shared a story about accidentally dropping his loose change which spilled all over the sidewalk and a nicely dressed lady bent down and helped pick up all of his coins for him as he couldn't bend over in his wheelchair, or pick them up with his fingers.

He started gulping down his ginger drink, then pushed his plate of chicken towards me saying, "Oh man Kai, you gotta try this chicken. It is so good. Seriously, try some."

I laughed and let him know that he is so kind. I knew he was exhausted still. He needed to eat and then sleep.

He also shared that when he passes out, and sleeps, that is when people steal his things. He lost his backpack that way, and other personal items. I knew this to be true from many other stories from others who shared about Life on the Street with me.

I explained to him that he will undergo one of the hardest battles of his Life. For his Life. Feeling like Superman comes with a heavy price. It is short-lived, and creates an endless trap which is harder and harder to escape from. 

He said, "I know man, it is quick, and then it is over, and then I am right back in a hole again. It is like the Devil. Just waiting for, and watching me slowly die."

I said there is a point, a place, where you get in Life, where you feel like Superman all the time. It comes from the Holy Spirit. The Power of Love. It comes from a place so deep inside, that it sustains itself without drugs or anything else. You can get there brother. I Love You. You got this...

He excitedly proclaimed, "I know! I know! You feel great all the time! You don't need nothing! It is the Holy Spirit!"

We embraced a few more times, and then I organized his area, and got back in my car. I rolled down the window, and we both just looked at each other for what seemed like a drawn out moment, as the Earth slowed slightly in its rotation to extend time, to extend this important moment in both of our Lives.

I started my car engine, and while looking at those bright hopeful eyes, I said, "Freddie, I Love you brother." 

"I love you Kai..." he responded. "Thank you Jesus."

I said, "You see all these people walking past? You are no different from them. They are no different than you. Than me. Than us."

He smiled.

"Remember that. I will be back to check on you now that I know where you are at."

"Thank you" he said.

"You got this Freddie. You Truly got this. Love you..." as I drove off with him waving.

So this turned out to be a story about Kindness, Hope, Faith, Gratitude, Humility, Perseverance, Suffering, Sacrifice and Love.

I witnessed a parade of kind people stopping to show Aloha to a man in dire need. Freddie lifts my Spirits and delivers me Hope in the form of Human Suffering. Resiliency of Spirit.  Freddie Inspires me. He is Truly my Savior. Wearing his Crown of Thorns...

And for those who think Hawai'i is headed down a dark path of irreparable change for the worse, please think again. 

Love still abounds. Everywhere. The Cleanest Purest of Hearts in the seemingly Dirtiest Filthiest of Vessels...

'Oli...


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Kahiki...


The Moon and Mars...


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Maka...


This was a film photograph of a coconut tree's reflection in the Sacred Kauila Pond at Punalu'u on Hawai'i Island...

Kahiko...


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Akua Lilinoe...


Monday, October 15, 2018

Hungry Birds...




The Original Hungry Birds...

Seven...


Maka...


Friends in High Places...

Love...


The Heavens Darkened...
The Torrential Tears Fell...
The Blinding Lightening Heralded...
The Arrival of Thunder...
As the 'Apapane Emerged...
Witnessing Chiefess Manono...
Standing over the Body of Her Beloved...
Among Scattered and Strewn Scarlet Bloodied Feathers...
Before She Herself was Battle Slain...
Dying Words Set Free...
"Mālama Kō Aloha..."
"Keep Your Love..."

Waiting...


As Heaven's Night...
Silently Arrives...
I Shall Be Waiting...
For You...

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Zen...


How to Meditate to Rock Music 101...

Empathy...


To be Honest, I was pretty Horrified too...

Trapped...


Feeling a little boxed in, are we?

Ahonui...


Patience, enduring, long suffering...

Ho'omana...


No'ono'o...


Reflection...

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Ascension...


Kahiko...


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Not Funny...


Sometimes when I go deep into the forest all by myself, I like to practice telling my lamest jokes out aloud. Because after I tell my joke, all I hear are crickets. It builds up my thick skin and self-confidence...

Love...


She works so Tirelessly...
To Bring Home Sustenance...
To Sustain her Lāhui...
To Serve her Queen...

Mr. Pentagon...


Ke Hoa...


Little Maka...

Monday, October 1, 2018

Hoa Aloha...


Another new Friend today...