Sunday, December 8, 2013


 Aloha is the intelligence with which we meet life.
Olana A‘i, Kumu Hula

"I love that[referring to Kumu Olana A'i's quote]. And so I'm here today to discuss the alternative ways of knowing. Because I no longer say "Hawaiian ways of knowing" anymore. Because people just relegate that to the margins. "Ways of knowing," as if it's a quaint, anthropologic way of describing something outside of us.
No, it's "epistemology." This is the philosophy of knowledge. This is the belief of knowledge, production and exchange. What is important about knowledge.
So the truth of knowledge is very profound. And it starts with our sensual development. Where did you grow up? How did you grow up?...
You know, when people believe that literacy is the highest form of intellect, I beg to differ, beg to differ. You know. Poor thing, you cannot read. Yeah, in a modernity sense, you've got to read. But don't tell me I'm stupid if I no can read.
Understand your own shackling of colonialism, that would put literacy as the highest form of intellect, and not aloha..." Manu Meyer

I woke this morning with the feeling of ha'aha'a humility. It was not so much that I thought it as much as I felt it. It's 23 degrees outside and though our vardo is cozy and toasty warm with heat, the Quonset Hut, where I am now, is just barely warm. So I am layered up from toe to throat. Discomfort will do that, bring me to humility, knowing that shelter keeps me safe enough when Nature turns on the taps -- freezing, firing, blowing, rising the waters. In addition to the effects of winter something else serves up the value, the feeling of ha'aha'a for me. Back on the islands I hear the voices of my family in Waimanalo talk about the strengthening bonds of aloha. Time and situations are bringing generations together in everyday ways: a ride to the North Shore to share time, catch the surf, read a book; hanging out for Thanksgiving sitting and laying around on the floor after eating; asking for and getting a massage a'e style (treading with the feet); playing ukulele.

Far from the place where those things are happening my heart longs to be there too. The cold amplifies the longing. I put more clothes on. In my dreams Pluto transits my Capricorn Moon and bits of rubble I can pretend aren't there in the light of day come in no logical progress; that is the nature of Moon Tattoos. The cold, the longing, the humility of experiencing life over time is a practice of meeting life. Manu Meyer reminds me that distance challenges me to remember my core values and sort through the 'colonial' beliefs that linger, hide and tempt me to be blind or deaf to Aloha all around and inside.

Just before we settled into sleep last night Pete put down the novel he's reading Havana Bay a spy, investigator story set at the turn of the century (1999) in Cuba. Cuba. A very large island nation. Out of favor with the US. Independent in a very different way today when its people and its economy no longer traded with the US. The novel and the details of everyday experiences I hear Pete describe while he reads the espionage brings up conversation about Cuban wooden box drums -- Pete built two for drummer friend who traveled to Cuba in late 1990. We talk also about the size of Cuba confused by the use of the metric system as I am, we're not sure whether the island nation is 1,000 miles long. Cuba is 42,426 sq miles (109,884 km²). I recall the videos I've watched about Cuba's reclamation period "the special period" post embargo. 

"We live in a vanilla society," Pete said just before he turned the lamp off. I was between wake and sleep, and grunted. But knew what we was saying. He added, "Well, you of all people know that!" It's true. I miss the other flavors. The discomforts we experience living from vardo for two are more than most experience in the Pacific Northwest. But we all take for granted the grandness of our normal conditions. 

I need to express some of these things whether clear or meaningful to others, who can tell. What is important is for me to know that at the core of being human loving and caring for one another and for critters like the wandering cat who would love to be inside is part of everything. Carry my stick, wrap up when cold, massage the message with fingers or feet and feel the love.

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Speak from the heart