Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Passing the bowl: tradition and value
Makua O`o is an active, living description of a human being involved in living with purpose and in pono (in harmony with all). I'm perched on the futon looking at these pictures asking them to give me inspiration to express something that is more than just 'talking into a fan.' I'm digging into my na`au (my gut) to put something ... a word picture that will aid me in acknowledging my value, my contribution.
Sometimes I lose touch with the purpose for being here...distracted by the challenges, obsessed with the countless adjustments, saddened by loss. I forget that ALL the discomfort of a twenty-four hour experience with multiple chemical sensitivities also includes beautiful times, exquisite moments and examples of humility and laughter.
The photos look back at me and I am reminded of the legacy of a culture that believes in working hands. The pohaku ku`ai (the poi pounding stone) my son carries, I passed to him from his Tutu Kane (grand father). I have used the pohaku to carry many stories shared with me in communities throughout the islands and the continental America. I carried the legacy of connectedness, my son took the pohaku back to the lo`i kalo (taro patches) and used the pohaku to make poi.
The calabash ... the koa bowl is similar though not the same bowl, that I too carried to communities as I gathered stories, listened to them shared from the heart. My mother first owned our family calabash. She kept it in her home. I took it out and opened doors she might never had thought to enter. That bowl ... our family bowl was passed to my son. When it was time for him to make a trip to Aotearoa (New Zealand) to learn and share traditional healing practices, a gift was necessary. "Special treasures are being taken over there, Mom." He told me this over the phone. "Well, you have the most treasure possession in your hands now." "I know," he said. "You ask, say your prayers and see whether the bowl is the gift to take with you. You'll get the answer." "Thanks Mom."
My cousin RosalynnMokihana passed into spirit earlier this month. When she passed a legacy of culture and tradition passed to me because we shared the value of the name. We carry the "Mokihana" name and I honor it as I also honor the bowl and the pohaku. Kanaka Maoli (the original people) of the islands called Hawaii, have a memory and a responsibility to sustain the culture. Layered over with systems and practices of hewa (wrong doings) and occupation, the island culture has been Touristized and Adapted. It's difficult to find the soul of the culture ... and to be truthful the real stuff has been hidden on purpose until time and education filled the hearts, minds and souls of the young; until the Makua remembered the faded dreams of value. Slowly, and now steadily the value builds.
I treasure my name as I treasure the life-times of those who have gone before me. I am the fourth Mokihana in my family line ... My life has taken me far from the island, and challenged me to survive and to transcend the very toxins and toxic ideas and chemicals that have sickened thousands before me. In the comfort of a tiny home on wheels parked thousands of miles away from the sands of my birth, I peck away at words that will not simply be idle chatter. I blog, I draw inspiration from many sources, and the name works beautifully...as a whole. I know how much work comes with that name, and rest during the 'Ole cycles of the moon.
I value the legacy of storytellers ... my father, my mother ... who birthed this round-bodied physical me. The ability to paint word pictures with the voice has been a treasured gift in our family. The gift of gab ... yes, and more. The time that is now offers me access to a whirl of readers, and a potential collective ready to make decisions based on a different truth. Words have power and I respect them. It must be enough for me to do my best and not ... wait for praise because someone values them, too.
The Makua O`o is a man or a woman who is given a few basic life tools to learn life. The tools are useful for any number of tasks, and will sustain a lifetime of use. The discovery of living will not pass to those in a rush to finish. Life will end soon enough. What this Makua is learning is to value the tools as useful, if I use them ... every day; know where they are when I need them; care for them when not in use. Then, when it's time to pass one or two or three of the o'o to a Makua down the line ... aue (alas) I will know where to find them.