If you try to define 'malama' it may squeeze through your fingers in any attempt to tightly define the essence of a culture of people, place and priorities based on life on tiny land masses -- islands, surrounded by tens of thousands of miles of ocean and the heavens visible in all directions. Much of the writing I do has to do with crafting examples of this seed of protocol. Malama means 'to care' and to care is to respectfully attend to whomever or whatever you encounter: your family, your yard, the forest, the air, the ocean, the water, the everything.
Yesterday I had a malama me day: a holiday from electricity, the keyboard, the woods, my usual day. A holy day of being with myself away from the work of maintaining our tiny space life. I drove to my favorite places within short distances from home and knew I had a little money to spend of small things if I found them. In Coupeville I found a $4.99 dryer to replace the electric dryer that will need to wait until the reserves fill up. In the new-to-me thrift store I found a perfectly intact wooden drying rack that stands six feet and will fit in the corner of our bathhouse and laundry in the making. While I was enjoying my holiday the cellphone rang 'PRIVATE NUMBER' printed across the screen. I answered and knew it would be my brother calling from Waimanalo.
"Hello." I said
"It's me," the raspy voice of my kid brother answered. I asked him to wait while I set down the things I had found and walked outside."How are you my bruddah?"
"Well ..." he loves to draw out the suspect, always has.
"I got the 'all clear'!"
My brother has been having cancer treatment for six months. It's been a grueling journey of chemicals and radiation. The news my brother shared with me yesterday came on a LONO Moon, one of the two kapu moons of Kaulana Mahina when prayers and acknowledgement for life giving and nourishment are given to the akua Kane and Lono. I practice these kapu and paid special attention to malama the gods so they would in turn malama us. In addition to these kapu, I have called upon a very special group of friends who come to the BOARDS of the only blog I visit regularly. ElsaElsa.com When the chemo and radiation began and throughout the months of treatment it was this group of Elsa Community that consistently responded to my request for prayers and good vibes for my family. The Elsa blog, the author, the atmosphere, the protocol of respect have been a source of malama for me since the early days of building our Gypsy wagon nest.
"Oh my god. I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!" My brother and I talked a few more minutes, happy to be sharing the good news. I told him how the Hawaiian Moon has been present in my healing journey and named the LONO moon as a day of health . After we said our good-byes, we said our "I love you's." I finished my holy day thrifting and drove to West Beach where I knew I would find the ocean breaking at the shore. I pulled Scout into the one parking place at the edge of the road and walked with my walking stick to see long stretches of waves rolling across the point. Unsure of whether the tide was coming in or going out, I stayed close to the entry and called my thank you to the ocean, the sky, the stars, Hina and all that is. Above the roar of the waves, I dialed my son and gave him the good news. Across the water and beyond the horizon are tiny islands in the middle of the Pacific. I know my thank you's travel that great distance with no difficulty.
We surprise each other, my brother and I. We have known each other all our lives and we are not the same. But, we malama each other and as I age I open my journey to a few trusted folk who know what 'malama' means without sqeezing the definition. "Malama pono" means care for the rightness, and with each day I live I see the practice is what gives meaning to the protocol. Thanks again, Elsa and the Community at the Astrology Blog for all the malama you give. My brother needn't know you to receive the power of prayers in a protocol of respect. It's the best of protocol I think!
Mokihana and Family