Monday, May 29, 2017

Retro Post for Memorial Day, 2017: Like Raising Fish (from my column "Makua o'o" written in Hawaii Island Journal, March 1-15, 2000)

Earlier this month, my Uncle Bill Amona celebrated his 95th birthday. His grand-daughter posted a photo of the family at The Golden Duck, an old favorite Chinese restaurant on King Street in Honolulu on the island of O'ahu. My ma, Uncle Bill's eldest sibling Helen Mokihana, would have been 100 years old in March of this year. Though this blog has parked quietly for several months, we are clearing and consolidating our lives here in Langley with our hearts and eyes on returning to Hawaii. There is plenty to do and lots of help will be needed to get from from here to there. Part of that process involves remembering that the journey of being makua o'o is a lifetime thing, innovation over time. While I was sorting old photographs and papers I came across this column. I wrote it for my nephew who was 15 years old in 2000. It is Memorial Day in the USA, and it seemed gently fitting to remember life with a sweetness that has little, or nothing, to do with war.
The artwork is new to original column, and is from an art blog described here: "I am an elementary art educator teaching in the Houston, Tx area at a Title 1 school for Kindergarten to fifth grade with 800 students. I teach 50 minute lessons, 6 classes a day, to 35 classes in a 6 day rotation. This blog is to help share with others all of the exciting activities and adventures my little artists and I explore together in my art classroom and the BIG world adventures we go on throughout the years I teach art!"


Like Raising Fish
By Yvonne Mokihana Calizar



The campus of Kapalama in Honolulu has changed since 1965 when my classmates and I graduated from the high school on the hill. The old Puna street entrance that winds along the narrow streets of Aleiwa Heights at the foothills of Kapalama is often closed to regular traffic heading into or from the grounds of Princess Bernice's place for "good and industrious men and women." but it's that entrance that is more familiar to me than the current road that leads more directly and quickly to the Kamehameha Schools. I don't get on campus much, and have only joined my old classmates at reunion once in 34 years. High school was many lifetimes past, and realizing how many times I have recreated myself since, makes me chuckle with a growing acceptance of my life.

Family history and continuity often bump into unexpected opportunities for reconnecting. My family and especially my two nephews are fresh sources of life that feed me like nothing else. Pondering what is precious happens whenever I'm with the two boys. Kawika will be 15 in a month. My mother loved this keiki and was Kawika's Tutu Lady exclusively. I see the lingering effects of my mother's hand in raising this teen-age boy. His eyes glint and track the goings-on in a room ... pulling in things familiar and questioning with scrutiny anything strange and untested. This is the boy who can talk faster than I can listen, but slows after eating a saimin-bowl of past shells and red sauce. Youth is spent racing into the future. The Makua o'o is content to step slowly into today.

Kawika is a gifted athlete and incredibly quick. "What did you do to Kawika when he was a little kid?" Pete shakes his head in amazement. "Chase him everywhere? He's so fast!" My brother David's broad, beautiful smile of appreciation fills his face as an answer. Aunties play a special role in the life of keiki boys. This aunty is coached across monkey-bars and can cheer with the best of the bleacher gang. It's a loving commitment to be available, staying open to be a learner, and keen to opportunity for teaching. So, I'm grateful every time I get to be Aunty. I show up.

Ma took naps on the floor with the tiny guy, guided his quick and eager hands when they held sharp knives and shared her heart with him without restriction. She understood how to help in the feeding of a spirit whose energy could pull in two different directions at once. That's what the fish, Pisces, does when he's out of sync with the flow. Two fish (for she was a Pisces as well) know what it feels like to swim against the currents.

As the sun's light cooled, my family piled from their commuting-basketball-practice-night-school-work-school routine to pick up a crockpot of food that's been cooking for them through the day. One night last week, the familiar blue-gray truck pulled in but instead of three heads I watched five dark-haired heads climb from the old faithful Nissan. "Wow, is that you Waikaloa, and Pat?" Two of Kawika's Maryknoll Spartans teammates were heading for an over-night gig at Nakini Street. The boys walked onto our bamboo-fronted porch, each one adding to my collection of hon (hugs and kisses) and "Hi, Aunty." My brother and I exchange the look and smiles that have moved between us for decades. The unnecessary us of many words shortened with heart-felt movements of a smile.

The rectangular kitchen table used so often to share tea and cookies o fresh-fried akule and rice was surrounded with boys. I could feel my parents smiling with us as we listened to the chatter and clank in the kitchen. The sound of clicking rice bowls and silverware from the cupboards and dish drain created a familiar and simple mele. A family poi bowl was always available and plentiful. The oval crockpot filled with pasta shells and tomato sauce is deep and fed the hungry youth like the fabled three fish and loaves. This is the kind of experience that eases my uncertain and impatient nature. The innocence and goodness that feeds a child grows when simple possibilities spring from a night when a crockpot of past becomes Aunty's truck stop along a busy highway of daily living.

Just before our houseful of family emptied, Waikaloa notice the glass bowl of pohaku li'ili'i hauau (tiny stones being born) sitting on a ledge in my office. The crowded heap of boy's heads and fast-talk slowed, and I poked my face through the hole in the wall between the kitchen and the living room. "Oh yeah, Waikaloa, you know. All those little stones are babies. Born in that bowl." As easy as shooting three points from outside, the young man said, "Just like raising fish." Yah. Just keep the bowl filled with water and Hawaiian salt. The pohaku, stones, know what to do from there.


In memory of 'ohana, ancestors behind us and in front of us. E ola makou.


Photo credit: http://littleartistsbigworld.blogspot.com/2015/05/silent-art-auction-2015.html

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The grand experiment

The calendar year wraps itself into close, 2016 ends in a few days. The Lunar Calendar and Chinese New Year of the Rooster begin January 28, 2017. There is a season and reason for everything and for me the grand experiment of writing blogs is over for me. Hundreds of blog posts and dozens of medicine stories have helped me sort life on this planet. Setting up the many different versions of my stories, and observations have been as much healing salve a any prescription and probably much more effective. Blogs have been a blank palette to fill in so many different ways. I am tired now.

Makua o'o and my other blogs will now be places to find archive posts, and links to other resources (found on the sidebars). Thank you for coming to read the meandering tales and observations of time and circumstances over the past years.

I have created a website Yvonne Mokihana Calizar where all the blogs and medicine stories collect in one place. The grand experiment with blogging is pau, but still the coral polp grows.



A hui hou,
Mokihana 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Merchant Seamen and the Moon


The Gemini Full Moon has woken me at midnight, drawing me out of a warm bed to be with her. The tides have been extreme with an afternoon tide of more than 12 feet and a late evening tide of minus 3 feet. Though we live in the woods and on the highest point on the south end of Whidbey Island at 300 feet, this is a narrow island and the draw of the Salish Sea is powerful, especially for two people like me and my husband who are water sun signs (Scorpio and Cancer). The two huge moon at dawn photos in today's posts are courtesy of my friend Terri Wise who lives on the northwest end of Whidbey. The Sun rise today (Wednesday) was minutes before 8 am. Moon set was 8:14 am. Yesterday (Tuesday) the Sun set at 4:16 pm, but the  Moon did not rise until 4:41 pm. There was a bit of a gap between the Sun's set and the Moon's appearance. When we were just learning to count the Hawaiian Moon phases, we listened and watched this January, 2008 presentation "Kaulana Mahina" by Kalei (Tsuha) Nu'uhiwa over and over again. We had so much to learn, and even more to forget before we could start to remember how to remember. Even as we were new to the practice I shared what I was learning. There were plenty of gaps in my knowledge, but the excitement to share even those first insights were such a precious way for me to feel connected to ancestral roots.

We are still learning to count on the moon, and thanks to our daily and nightly experiences of living in the woods in the same place for going on seven seasons, we become more familiar with what happens here by paying attention. Knowledge, the floating awareness of facts or theories only becomes knowing (a verb) when I live it, notice the stable repetitions and the changes in plants, bird habits and weather and record it to memory, or put it down somewhere to keep track. For the past eight years I've tried to keep track using blogs. The challenge for me is that I have kept more than one blog, and lose track. I'm working with this challenge of how to consolidate (?) all the writing I've done and put it on one website. I'm not done yet.

The photos Terri emailed me tickled a new understanding of my life as makua o'o. From the images I see what my ancestors meant when saying, naming the phases of the moon (or paying attention to what is happening) is a place-specific practice. What I see at midnight is not necessarily what you see at midnight if you are not where I am. To tie things together a little without creating a neat and conclusive bundle, learning to understand the relationship between the Moon's cycles and my own (or the Elemental effects on humans or other living beings) is a long term process of attending. Kalei Nu'uhiwa's kuleana (responsibility as knowledge holder and sharer) grows since her original work began. She talked about that journey in a very informative interview on And Still the Waters Rise entitled "Out of Thin Air." I listened with renewed interest in this Maui-born wahine born to a kanaka beach boy and New Jersey tourist who stayed. This ethnoscientist of Maui who moves me, and many others to become more practiced in paying attention. It was Kalei Nu'uhiwa who co-organized the 2015 'Aimalama Conference of Indigenous Pacific Peoples who use the Hawaiian Moon Calendar in their daily lives. In our practice as Hawaiian Moon Calendar students it was awesome to be able to connect through a live-streaming connection to that 2015 conference on O'ahu making the 2,500 mile separation seem not quite so far. It was our own form of huaka'i.

To live a practice of makua o'o 2, 500 miles from the piko away from Hawaii means we must have enough confidence and focus to see how the practice is done where we are. Applying the knowledge that floats across the cyberspace Internet connection I must be a skillful, and awake knowledge catcher. To say I am a surfer, I must demonstrate my skill in the watah. To say I am a practitioner of kilo (observation) I must observe. So, those photos that begin this post. In them a tug boat captained and navigated by instruments is still operating with merchant sea folk. The tug does not travel on its own, and those merchant mariners must not only know the theory of sailing that ship and that body of ocean they must know the specifics of what that water and what lives under and around the water are like.

In this 2012 video "Kanaloa: Men of the Sea" two Hawaiian water men spoke of their lives on the sea. Leighton Tseu's stories stirred such common roots for me. Though I am far from being a mariner, this man is two years younger than I and went to the same high school I did. He spoke of being mentored by a high school counselor who was one of my favorite high school teachers, one of the few Native Hawaiian faculty in 1965. That was, and is a connection. Ah. The two men who talkedstory with the audience in "Kanaloa: Men of the Sea" rendered the details and mentorships that molded their careers as ocean going merchant marines. Their experiences feed a passion today to recruit young Hawaiian boys and girls into the work of water people who have within them the salt water of the ocean.

In the final minutes of Tseu's story he weaves the spiritual inseparability of being 'in the flow' when he was asked to take Hawaiian practitioners including Aunty Pualani Kanahele and Kalei Nu'uhiwa and others from Hawaii to Mokumanamana for Winter Solstice in 2009. The voyage would necessitate skill on all levels and a focus and attentiveness for every one involved to make that rough water venture possible. The timing for that December 2009 sailing approaches again. It was the anahulu (the 10 days/nights) of calm before the Winter Solstice Leighton Tseu speaks of in "Kanaloa: Men of the Sea". It is that focused and combined energy of intention that perpetuates the seamen and the moon's ageless and specific connectivity. When theory is pulled down into the na'au the gut and memory is applied to specific action, the practice endures. Their story feeds me. I watch it via cyberspace, feel how the Full Moon pulls it in me, awakening my understanding. Ah, application. The imagery incites a riot in my gut.

My life on this island surrounded by the water named "Salish Sea" extends and connects with the deepest ocean. That merchant mariner moves on a tide at full flood, a high tide while I can feel even as I finally sleep in my cozy futon at 300 foot elevation. The Moon, Mahina dressed in her full illumination affects me she awakens my guts and I become the app. I become the living and attentive makua o'o noticing. And then I come to the keys, piece together some story and put it down. Whoa. Mahalo Na Akua. Whew.

And you, what do you notice?



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Full Moon in Gemini, December 13, 2016

The sky cleared at midnight, and Mahina in her full length bright moonlight holoku has been breaking through. I looked up to see her from the corner of the golden wagon. Conifer needles dangle from the edge of the curved roof, the heavy canvas curtain still. The wind is somewhere else tonight.

Rain drops dangle from Hemlock at the very tips of her fingers. Tiny jewels in a moonlit night, I am awake and relish in being alive to see the kin.

Glass jars of spring water Pete filled last week getting a Gemini Moon bath. We'll be drinking this moon-infused water, giving thanks to Kane for the life-giving water and Mahina for her part in this of course. The Gemini Full Moon falls in my 6th House of Health. How about you? Follow the link for Elsa P.'s thoughts about this moon.

E Ola (to life)
E Mahina nui (to the moon in her abundance)

"Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts." Wendell Berry

Monday, November 14, 2016

Lono Season and Makahi Begins

Kalei Nuuhiwa posted the following mana'o on the Hui 'Aimalama FB page (a closed group) last night. I am reposting Kalei's message in its entirety. Mahalo nui loa e Kalei.

 With Kalei's message still fresh in my na'au I dressed warmly and headed to the muliwai where I knew there would be a tide that allowed me

 to walk the shore and be with the new Lono Season ... ho'olono causing me to hear what I was meant to hear.
 The high tides are extreme with the SuperMoon, I chose to walk quietly along the water's edge where the indications of the powerful movement were present as I gave thanks to the Akua, and huli that the new season promises.
 The sun creates clear shades and I notice 'pay attention'. Light and dark in the middle of the day. It was not quite noon when I walked.

The remaining mana'o is Kalei Nu'uhiwa's: 

1. ʻO ke au i kahuli wela ka honua
2. ʻO ke au i kahuli lole ka lani
3. ʻO ke au i kuka'iaka ka lā.
4. E ho'omālamalama i ka malama
5. ʻO ke au o Makali'i ka pō
6. ʻO ka walewale ho'okumu honua ia...

These are the first 6 lines of the Kumulipo and Iʻve spent some goodly amount of years just studying these six lines. There's so many ways that one could interpret them too. There's imagery of what some describe as the big bang, there's imagery of what some describe is the formation of the solar system. Some see a lunar eclipse, others see a solar eclipse, while others see the description of the development of a fetus upon the moment of conception. Some see chaos, some see a hulihia, some see a reorganization of time or of politics. All are correct interpretations. None are better interpretations than the other. It is part of the Hawaiian epistemology of allowing others to connect to the chant and acknowledging that there are multiple realities for each individual.
I will use this pule hoʻolaʻa aliʻi to describe the auspicious evening that we will all be experiencing tonight because the six lines of the Kumulipo can also be utilized to describe what is going to be happening today.

1. ʻO ke au i kahuli wela ka honua
During the time when the seasons are changing upon this earth.
2. ʻO ke au i kahuli lole ka lani
At a time when the atmospheric cycles unfold.
3. ʻO ke au i kuka'iaka ka lā.
At the setting sun when the shadows lean,
4. E ho'omālamalama i ka malama
It is the time when the moon will be extremely lit,
5. ʻO ke au o Makali'i ka pō
During the time when Makaliʻi is rising in the evening
6. ʻO ka walewale ho'okumu honua ia...
Tempting the foundation to begin anew...
Tonight when the sun sets in Hawaiʻi the star constellation known as Makaliʻi will be rising in conjunction with the supermoon. Both Makaliʻi and the supermoon rising hails in the changing of the political season, the recalibration of the Hawaiian lunar calendar and the start of the makahiki ceremonies and rituals. These rituals lasted from 4 days to 1 anahulu (10 days) followed by games and respite from the stringent politics. It is a time to honor those that have passed, celebrate the new year, pay tribute to the government with things produced or harvested, and at the closing of the ceremonies to honor the rites of passage of the young women in the community.The makahiki was normally a time of peace and setting time aside to enjoy life collectively with your community.
Many people have asked me if there was a Hawaiian term for the supermoon and I have to confess that I do not know if they had a special term for this event. But what I do know is that they would have recorded their important observations in chants and prayer, hence my utilization of the Kumulipo to express the Hoʻomālamalama i ka malama, the great luminosity of the moon.
During the season of Lono we can expect rain, thunder, lightning, flooding, huge surf, the arrival of huge storms, several meteor showers, landslides, active volcanoes and earthquakes. So now you know what we can be expecting at the commencement of the rising of the supermoon and Makaliʻi at sunet, yes?
Makahiki is a time when nature demands attention and man sits back and allows the natural processes to carry on. For me it is a very invigorating time.
So, in the spirit of Makahiki during this auspicious arrival of the new season I bid you all great peace and prosperity for a great new year.
E KĪHAIPAINANIOLONO!
LONOIKAMAKAHIKI!
LONOIKAMAKAHIKI!
LONOIKAMAKAHIKI!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Jun Ken Po 2016

E remember jun ken po?

After November 8, 2016 we've come up with a new version to raise a commotion, update the motions and get a new notion. SOLIDARITY means:



Get the whole story here, and then, pass it on while you put a pin in place...


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Trumped

I have written my response of grief in The Safety Pin Cafe.  It begins:
"Today we grieve. Tomorrow we fight. Art & activism matter more than ever. So does community. Stay strong."- Terri Windling
"Mars in Aquarius will PROTEST. I'm just not sure people will feel up to it.  They may very well detach in order to deal with their feelings of depression and doom.
Tomorrow the Moon in Pisces will conjunct Chiron in the sign. This is not going to help. Endless, un-healable wound.  Arrgh.
I wish I had something better to say. These next two days will be rough." - ElsaElsa Astrology Newsletter
"Yes, Terri. Today we grieve. In the dark hour of midnight here in the Salish Sea I was shocked to read, "He is president." No amount of Flower Nation Remedy would change that, but I dosed myself anyway. Then I picked up Aurora Levins Morales' book of essaysMedicine Stories..."

Read the whole response here.