Beginning a new chapter

10 08 2012
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have,
and only you can determine how it will be spent.
Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
–Carl Sandburg

Setting sun flashes a golden reflection on the John Hancock Tower


Conference call with Dragonfly

2 08 2012

Last Friday my life exploded with yin and yang energies.   I stepped out of the joy of a dance retreat to take a business call in the parking lot of the dance studio.

The team and I are facing a very difficult situation, one that is moving beyond black comedy into tragic terrain.  This dragonfly kept me company for almost 20 minutes as the team pondered our options.

My silent supporter

Often in times of great challenge I notice an owl or hawk close by.  Or a butterfly.  This is my first encounter with a dragonfly.   This particular insect was looking right at me, buzzing up toward my left ear, then settling back on the ground.

As the situation grinds on, growing less comic and more tragic day by day, I’ve been thinking more and more about my companion dragonfly.

Some Native Americans regard the dragonfly as a sign of happiness.  That’s not what I’m feeling right now.

A few seconds on Google brought up some some interesting thoughts on dragonfly symbolism.  According to The Dragonfly Site, the dragonfly can mean:

  • Maturity and depth of character
  • Power and poise
  • Focus on living in the moment
  • Opening one’s eyes
  • Defeat of self-created illusions

This is a lot for me to step up to.

Energizing the ecosystem

21 07 2012

Yesterday was a momentous day for two of my friends.

It was a day for these two humble and generous men to step into their greatness as leaders, a day to commit to energizing an ecosystem where all can share expanded opportunities.

Focusing on the problem of blossom-end rot on my tomato plant, I almost didn’t notice the setting sun reflected in the John Hancock Tower

It’s not easy to work for the joint long-term best interests of all in a world where business models reinforce short-term thinking and outright selfishness.

I’ve seen the struggle behind the scenes, AND I feel confident my friends will succeed.   Each has the personal courage to lead from the heart.

Mahalo pau to self doubt.

When you work for the best interest of all, you activate your business network and energize the network effect.  And the ecosystem can accomplish what one voice or one document cannot.

Mahalo nui no keia moku, ika maka ana, e malie.

Focus on the horizon, and small problems vaporize

Grateful to the elders who share their mo’olelo

17 07 2012

I am reading Lame Deer Seeker of Visions.

It is an extraordinary collaboration by John (Fire) Lame Deer, a Lakota Sioux medicine man, and John Erdoes, an artist of Jewish descent who had escaped from Vienna during World War II.

The life and philosophy of Lame Deer comes across fresh as sweetgrass and sharp as sage, without an Anthropologist’s varnish or commentary.   This book is the best $5.99 you could ever spend.

Rushing around in today’s world, it’s easy to lose the plot

It takes courage to share stories with people outside the culture.  They may be dismissive of the Great Spirit.  Or their cultural context may lead them to the most  tragically (or comically) opposite conclusions.  For example, the Sioux name, “Man Scared Horse,” does not mean what is most obvious for a native speaker of English, i.e., a man afraid of a horse.  Rather, this name was bestowed on a chief so powerful that his enemies grew afraid when they caught the first glimpse of his horse.

Like so many people of mixed descent, I often think about the stories my mother told me as a child, pondering their meaning.   The oral tradition in my family was attenuated well before my mother’s time.  Moreover, I blocked that side of my heritage for many years, focusing more on material things than on the circles of life.

But now that I am preparing for my own days as a kupuna, more and more stories are coming back to the foreground, and they are speaking to me louder and more insistently.

When I read these stories and philosophies of the Lakota, I naturally begin to compare and contrast with the words of my mother.  I know my ancestors are close to me as I feel the tumblers of my childhood mind unlocking.

I am so grateful for the stores of Lame Deer and for all the mo’olelo from Hawaii’s kupuna.

Starbucks new “Refreshers” hit the spot

12 07 2012





So said the signs in the Starbucks window.  I had a moment of puzzlement.  Rethink, recharge, reinvent, refresh?  Aren’t these the themes of this blog?

Sunset moments are the time to ho’omalie, to get quiet with nature.   When the body relaxes, it can recharge and rekindle the gut intuition.  When the spirit relaxes, it can refresh.  When the mind relaxes, it can rethink.  When you h’oomalie, you reconnect with your best self.  And when you reconnect with your best self, everything goes more smoothly and easily and you can reinvent your life.  So the themes of this blog are actually: relax, recharge, rekindle, refresh, rethink, reconnect, reinvent.  How’s that for a coincidence!

Then I had a moment of cognitive dissonance.

Starbucks is where you amp up, get your adrenaline going, get your big caffeine hit, get your yang on!  Is Starbucks moving into yin?  What the heck is going on?

I looked more carefully at the Starbucks window and noticed a stylized hibiscus flower, the Hawaii State Flower.  Hmmm…  We on the Big Island feel a certain friendly rivalry with corporate coffee.  Why?  Two reasons.

  • East Hawaii is where the best coffee in the world is grown.  And that’s not just my opinion.  In 2012, our Ka’u coffee growers won 3 out of 10 Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Roaster’s Guild Coffees of the Year awards.
  • West Hawaii is on the leading edge of coffee marketing trends.  KonaRed Hawaiian Superfruit Antioxidant Juice is a powerful Hawaiian superfruit beverage.  Its main ingredient is the fruit of the coffee plant that surrounds, protects and nourishes the coffee bean.  KonaRed has a high level of nutrients and antioxidants that help prevent disease, delay aging and provide a long-lasting mood boost.

Intrigued, I flung open the door and stepped into Starbucks.

Starbucks “Refreshers” — a new way to get your yin on!

Yes, it’s true.  Starbucks is now on the wave of a trend that swept Hawaii a few years ago, fruit refreshers made with green coffee extract.  Coffee as we know it is already America’s #1 source of antioxidants.  The fruit of the coffee cherry is even more potent than the roasted beans.  The fruit surrounding the coffee seed is 50X more potent in nutrients than acai and 625X more potent than a blueberry.  Mixed up into a fruit drink, coffee cherry extract is especially delicious as well as nutritious.  In Hawaii we especially love our KonaRed Coconut Water.

With its new Refreshers, Starbucks is reimagining the way Mainlanders think about coffee, focusing on natural energy from the green coffee extract.  I like the two flavors mixed together, what my local Barristas at 97 Charles Street, Boston call a “misto.”

When I need to think, I like to work outside on the lanai.

When I am on the mainland, I am one of the most fortunate city dwellers alive.  Mahalo nui that I have a desk on the lanai where I can go whenever I need to ho’omalie, get quiet with nature so I can rekindle my intuition and rethink how things could go smoothly and easily.

Most city folks are not so fortunate.  In the words of Chief Seattl, speaking to the President of the United States back in 1854:

There is no quiet place
in the white man’s cities.
No place to hear the unfurling
of leaves in spring or the rustle
of insects’ wings.
With a Starbucks Refresher in hand, it’s just a little easier to imagine nature in the city.  If city folks can reimagine nature, maybe city folks can reenergize in a new way.  For those who find themselves in windowless rooms surrounded by a circle of dark suits with no time to get out in nature, I think a Starbucks Refresher is worth a try.

What is the recipe for happiness?

4 07 2012

If your life looks grey and cloudy, turn your head toward the bright spot

A friend asked me, “How do I achieve happiness?” I talked to Kumu Mahealani, and this is what she said…

Look at your life, look at what brings you joy.

Focus on that. Move that into the foreground.

Start walking that way.

Let the rest melt away.

We’re all celebrating the freedom to pursue happiness on this Independence Day.  I’m finding it in the time-tested Hawaiian way.

Same seat as above, totally different view

There is a happy place right on your horizon


Moonrise over Mauna Kea

3 07 2012

The moon flirts with me, daring me to take its picture

Kumu and I had a working session tonight at Tex’s Drive-In in Honoka’a.

Through divine intervention, the malasadas were pau just as we gave in to temptation and sidled up to the counter to order desert.  Uncle had left us each a corner of his, so we did get a taste of the Big Island’s legendary treats.

Another treat — tonight’s full moon kept me company as I drove south on the belt road toward home.

Sailing serenely out my left window, Hina beckoned me to the side of the road.  Would this be the night I would finally capture a photo of the full moon on my trusty point-and-shoot camera?  I pulled over, stopped the car, turned off all the lights, and gave it a try.

I was not able to hold the camera steady enough to get a clear image with the “night landscape” setting.  The “sunset” setting, which I clicked on by force of habit, produced the clearest image.

The rising moon was warmly golden, shining heavenly light as it peeked out among the twilight clouds.

Full moon rising over Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii

I stood still for a long time afterwards, relaxing, refreshing and recharging as I relished and reveled in my connection with the moonlight.


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