Reflecting upon this past year, it is easy to see the seemingly endless and relentless challenges. However understanding that darkness can be our greatest teacher, something I have learned this past year, I am humbly grateful for the multitude of important lessons so many challenges have bestowed upon my Spiritual growth.

What began as a year of apprehension and yes, even fear, has not evolved into a place of humble gratitude for the countless Blessings in this Life, and on this Shared Human Journey of our Immortal Souls.

The other day, my son Koa wanted to get out of the house after being sequestered for the past nine-months. I took him with me to go grocery shopping which involved a long drive. He stayed in the car while I shopped and when I returned to the car, we spent some time bonding and just talking.

You would think nine-months together in a small apartment would provide ample opportunity to converse, but somehow real life doesn’t always work that way. I was very grateful to spend the one-on-one time with him.

I shared with him where our family was in the larger scheme of Life, where the World was, and Humanity given the lessons of COVID-19 as a consciousness here to teach important lessons to Humankind about caring for Mother Earth, all Life on Earth, and each other.

I talked about raising his vibration, and not operating out of fear, but out of humility, gratitude and respect when it comes to the virus. He then excitedly exclaimed that he just saw a “hippie” lady on YouTube talking about COVID-19 and vibrations, and wanted to know what I knew. He and his friends had written her off as crazy. He was genuinely astonished to have just seen that video and now his Father was talking to him about the virus and vibrations. 

I laughed and shared what I had been taught by Spiritual teachers and shared with him that I have garnered much Truth and Wisdom from the most unlikely sources that most of Society writes off as crazy, including many people on the street. I shared with him about discernment and how Divinity often uses people as vessels to impart wisdom. Don’t be so quick to judge others. 

I talked about his options for his future, knowing that his older brother Elliott sometimes shines so brightly with his acceptance to medical school next year. I know what it is like to exist in the shadow of a sibling and the expectations of a loving and caring, but strict mother.

It might have been the most we have talked this year. As I was sharing, I noticed some tears cascading from his eyes, and felt that I may have hit a chord within him. I then let him share his often reserved inner feelings with me in a safe environment, as a Pu’uhonua, a Place of Refuge, for him, in our little car.

He shared consternation that he cries easily. Here was my little baby boy, now a young man, who possesses the toughest disciplined exterior, who spends hours on his computer each night destroying legions of warriors and monsters with keen strategy and ferocity, aptly named, Koa.

Koa in Hawaiian means “brave, bold, fearless, valiant; bravery, courage…” and a second meaning is “soldier, warrior, fighter; military, hero…” Exactly describing my son.

I found out that while at Kamehameha, he started using his English name, Kevin, rather than Koa, because he felt anything but a brave fearless strong warrior. He still struggles to put on weight and muscle on his frame despite how much protein powder and food he consumes.

I let him know how much I love him, and how proud of him I and his mother are of him. That he is a Healer, like his brother. I reminded him how much my mother, his Nana, loved him and how he used to take care of her. How his future is his to decide, not us. He will go on to do great things, and help Heal many, many people.

Koa, also Ko’a, the coral, the coral polyp in the genealogical chant, The Kumulipo, one origin of kanaka ‘ōiwi, is also the ahu or altar, as it is the branch coral, that hides the tiny fish from the predators, a Pu’uhonua, a place of refuge. He is just as much Ko’a as he is Koa.

It was precious time spent together, of sharing, that will last a Lifetime for the both of us, that may never had occurred, if we weren’t in this frenetic unpredictable year. My son Koa and I forged a stronger bond and understanding and for that I am grateful. 

I shared with Koa that I am always crying, and used to be greatly embarrassed by it, as a sign of masculine weakness as we are taught. I also reminded him that there is no more powerful indicator of Love than free flowing tears. 

I also reminded him of the story of Kamehameha greeting Ka'iana 'Ahu'ula on the ship after Ka'iana returned from voyages across the sea and had almost died from severe illness. Kamehameha embraced Ka'iana and they both wept profusely according to the ship captains log and journal. 

I told Koa, the same Kamehameha and Ka'iana who could break both your arms in battle, eviscerate you with their shark tooth lei-o-manō, and pull your guts out you so you could see your own na'au, intestines, while you died. Tears are who we are.

So tonight, his older brother Elliott and I set out for the North Shore for our last night of sharing with houseless and homeless families and individuals in a three-week transition program.

It was a Beautiful night as we spent several hours, under a large kukui nut tree, the tree of “enlightenment” sharing thoughts and stories with a handful of Beautiful individuals about the Meaning of Life. Elliott was able to sit with people he might not otherwise ever meet, and listen to the heartbreaking experiences they shared, as tears flowed, and as we tried to offer Hope in the lessons of this past year, and the true meaning of this Journey, to learn from the darkness in our Lives, transform, and to Love and Care for Each Other.

A good portion of the participants in the program are kanaka ‘ōiwi and the mo’olelo of the ancestors and ‘ike Hawai’i resonated. 

I felt it was important as Elliott is destined to be a Healer and a Doctor, that he come to intimately know the people struggling the most to not only Heal themselves and their families, but to simply find shelter to survive. 

Somber stories of Drugs, Disease, Incarceration, Abuse, Domestic Violence, and even Suicide filled the cool night air, below the sheer cliffs where the bones of the ancestors are lovingly deposited, to quietly observe and listen to the pains of their mo’opuna down below, as Beautiful Mahina shone brightly in the Heavens above. 

The sands beneath our feet also contained the bones of the ancestors as well. He Lani kō Luna, He Honua kō Lalo. Heaven Above, Earth Below. None of us shall ever forget this night.

So earlier today, this last day of 2020, I had dropped our car off for maintenance and the safety check which expired ten-months ago. My wife and I were exhausted watching for police cars behind us in traffic and strategically changing lanes or making turns to avoid getting pulled over and tagged. It was such a relief to be legal again and just drive carefree again.

I dropped off the car and walked the two-miles home and later in the day, walked again to pick up my car. I actually looked forward to the walk as I hadn’t walked the streets for a couple of years except sparingly when needed. My daily walks to and from work was where I encountered people of the street, some of whom changed my Life and brought me greater understanding in our simple but profound interactions. I had missed them.

The streets along my route were mostly empty. However, at one point, I noticed a Polynesian woman who looked like she was in her forties or fifties, sun-bronzed skin, carrying three heavy bags on her shoulders, walking in aimless steps. Her countenance was of someone carrying much more of the weight and burden of her three heavy bags. 

As we passed, I made sure to look her in the eye, as she did me. I smiled the warmest smile I could and said, “Aloha!” She cracked a smile, about as much as she could muster under the circumstances.

As I walked past, my mind raced, and my Heart told me to offer her something so she could buy food, drink or something.

However with each step, I went further and further from her. The I found myself lost in thought, as my body moved forward at my brisk pace cutting through a shortcut to get to the car repair shop before they closed and get the car back home so Elliott and I could head out to Mokuleia. 

I felt guilty for not having stopped to assist her. So I asked for Forgiveness and sent her Prayers muttered under my heaving breath as I continued to briskly walk to my destination.

I picked up the car and made my way to the grocery store for provisions for the family. So in the end, about an hour later, I finally was headed home. As I was sitting in my car, waiting for the light to turn towards my building’s entrance, who did I see approaching the corner crosswalk? My Polynesian lady friend. My Heart pounded. Here was my Redemption. 

I saw that she was slowly preparing to cross the street, which would have made it difficult to circle around and find her again given traffic.

I found myself pleading out loud for her to stay there and not cross, such that I could park on the side of the street and run out to give her something. To my surprise, she suddenly turned around and started walking back down the sidewalk. I was excited, scrambling through my wallet with one hand, finding a fifty-dollar bill that was unspent at the car repair shop or grocery store. 

The light changed and I saw her actually step off of the sidewalk into the road curb much to the chagrin of the drivers in front of me who swerved away from her not knowing she would enter the roadway in her aimless and listless wandering.

I pulled up right next to her with outstretched hand and smiled at her. I said, “Aloha Sweetheart, this is for you. Merry Christmas!”

She stood there, looking a little unsure and confused, and then reached out and took the bill, then broke into the most Beautiful smile I had seen in ages.

“Thank you!” she said. I smiled and said, “Please take care! Love you!” and then I had to quickly drive off as impatient cars were piling up behind me.

As I drove off, I could see her in my rearview mirror just standing there, staring at the back of my car, as I drove all the way to the end of the block. 

So in the end, it wasn’t I who did anything special or good. It was she. I know my Ancestors and Guides spoke to me in my na’au, and let me know that I should stop and offer her some Encouragement and Love. But I chose not to listen. My mission to get my car, my busy schedule, my tiredness, my hesitancy, all led me to ignore their voices. It left me with a wound of guilt. 

Yet my ancestors, working with her ancestors, created the situation and timing for me to have an impossible second chance to encounter her yet once again, in a span of a few minutes upon endless routes, roads and sidewalks. 

So I Healed that guilt. And we may never see each other again in this Life. Or maybe we will. Just two Souls reaffirming our Eternal and Divine connection.

It was a Beautiful reminder, as well as the time spent with Koa, and the time spent with Elliott, that this New Year is what we Truly Make of It. It is up to us. We are here to Love and Help Each Other. On this Shared Journey of Life.

And as Elliott and I drove to the North Shore, I had to suddenly stop and pull over on the side of the road, to bear witness and capture the Light of the Heavens piercing through the dark clouds. A simple Beautiful reminder of the lessons of the day. The lessons of this year.

Happy New Year filled with Love, Light, Kindness, Compassion, Healing, and Laughter. And much, much more Laughter…

Love you All…