I recently returned from a 13-day retreat in Hawaii, on the island of Molokai. My intention was to immerse myself into the traditional Hawaiian culture and to see what happens….
In the lead up and during the retreat, I familiarised myself with the language, through learning chants and hymns that we would sing as part of protocol; I observed, listened and participated in ceremonies; I was transformed through storytelling expressed through elders sharing and the graceful practice of hula; I was moved by visiting ancient sacred sites; and I asked questions, quickly learning this was only at the appropriate time!
Words can’t explain what happened, it changed my whole worldview. Yet, here is what I can share about Hawaii and what I will take forward in my day-to-day life, both personally and professionally:
- Always believe in something larger than ourselves
This could be anything from a universal energy, the cosmos, the power of nature, a god, gods or goddesses, or simply the collective vision of your organisation, team or family.
Our ability to believe in something larger than ourselves can transform our world from “me” to “we” and move us into living a life of unity and gratitude ~ Mahalo Ke Akua
- Listen, Observe and Pray
We’ve heard it before “Seek first to understand. Then to be understood”, Stephen Covey. It’s true! I ‘re-cognised’ the true value of observation and listening, despite wanting to ask questions (which can be intrusive) and being the most talkative (which can be arrogant). I rediscovered my faith in knowing that the answers will be revealed, the great truths will be uncovered and the will and courage to speak will be received and given, at precisely the right time. ~ Pule
- Stay centred and laugh often
Our native culture reminds us about finding the balance between our intellect and intuition. It’s about having integrity. It’s about letting our conscious be our guide. Imagine how different our thoughts, words and behaviours would be if we operated from a place of knowing as opposed to telling. And when the going gets tough (go back to #2!) or if you simply need a smile, it’s amazing how our sense of humour can bring light and laughter back into our spirit, mind and body ~ Pono
- Be ready for anything
A Greek philosopher once said “The only constant in life is change”. I live and breathe change, now I have a word for it ~ Mākaukau
Most importantly, this adventure reminded me about Australia’s indigenous culture, my connection to our land and broader community, the need to apologise and forgive on behalf of ourselves and ancestors, and the insight to revere those who are brave enough to build a bridge between the old and the new.
Most surprisingly, this adventure reminded me that WE ALL have a native culture to rediscover, especially if we are to go forward, together.
A hui hou, Aloha
Mahalo nui Kumu Pa’a Lawrence Aki, Kyrian Van Vliet, Kumu Pa’a Kawika Foster, Jessica Foster, Anakala (Uncle) Pilipo Solatorio, Anake (Aunt) Diane Solatorio, Kumu Hula DJ Pelekai, Aunt Souki, Uncle Bobby Alcain, Aunt Julia Hoe, Uncle Herb Hoe, Uncle Harry Kuupio Aki, Haumana of Mana o Molokai Hawaii and Mana o Kahiko, Sue (pictured above) and all my fellow Molokai Hula Bliss and Huaka’i 2018 participants.
Courtney ‘Co-Creator’ Wilson
m: +61 (0)417 107 888| e: firstname.lastname@example.org