Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Simmering story, unwrapping the gift of ancestral memory

"Entering the world of ancestral memory requires a certain mindset. Take time to enjoy and understand each phrase or line before going on. Remember, this gift took many lifetimes to wrap. Don't be in a hurry to unwrap it and become frustrated in doing so. The meaning and force of the ancestral knowledge will unfold precept upon precept, and each has a code to inspire you on to the next level." - from the Preface of Ka Honua Ola by Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele

"I believe in aristocracy -- if that is the right words and if a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power, based on rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate, and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and through the ages, and there is a secret understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos. Thousands of them perish in obscurity, a few are great names. They are sensitive for others as well as themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but the power to endure, and they can take a joke."
- E.M. Forster (1899-1970) This quote re-posted here from Terri Windling's blog Myth and Moor
Just over a year ago I began gathering the story that is The Joy Weed Journal. There were parts of the story already alive and well: the characters and the flavor of a mythic journey had begun in the first of medicine stories called The Safety Pin Cafe. The medicine and magic that connected old memories and timeless practices were at work and partnering with the Muse. There was no stopping the process, but at the same time, there was no rushing it. Like making an old-fashioned bone broth for a nourishing soup the story would need to be simmered to render its goodness.

The thing that happens when one is living a life that is truly yours ... it will not be as you expected it.  “You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.” ― Joseph Campbell. Living the practice and protocol of an elder-in-training, a makua o'o, the tools are available to me and the principles show themselves to me in daily interactions, dreams, and feelings.
  • I notice things. Separated from Hawaii as I am by physical space, the deep rooted-ness of my ancestors views the distance as illusion; I am given connections through my work and kuleana as writer, cook and mother. Three parts to very sustaining life.
  • Patiently I listen for the heartbeat of my culture that travels distance and time with ease. 
  • Asking for clarity I navigate the internet with an eye for connections, and find the photo of a ritual ho'okupu gift-giving ceremony (above) to illuminate and pin one thing to another.
  • Softening the ground of my being I soften to the possibilities to tell a story that make universal connections; common magic, mythic journeys
  • Sensitive to my human shortcomings and limitations I am vulnerable yet open to support from others and that becomes another gift.

While I have been busy simmering the story of The Joy Weed Journal the posts here at Makua O'o have been lean. If you'd like to read more about the simmering  go here.

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