As a Kahu (Minister), I am asked to perform funeral services. I was performing a funeral service on Saturday for an amazing family. When I got home, the country was mourning a loss of a greater magnitude. The timing this week, of my work and with the events in Arizona, is very powerful for me.
This month our Ha’awina group is talking about Ho’omaka, New Beginnings. When events of great magnitude happen, it can create a shift in a new direction. We can recognize the impact when they are at a global/national level like the Twin Towers. We feel the grief. We feel confusion at the behavior. There is a sense of uncertainty.
Personal events on a daily basis can also create waves of uncertainly. A sense of imbalance from loss of a loved one, like at the funeral I officiated, or perhaps from a loss or change in finances, people leaving the place you work (by choice or lay-off), and many other shifts and changes create the waves of life.
How we manage the wave and how as individuals discover our way through uncertainty is the journey of life. Seeing the “tragedy” of life as a stopping point is one perspective. As seen through another, it is the place where something stopped, but also, where something new begins.
At the funeral I officiated, for example, we grieved the person who was gone. But we know that that is because we want to share the memories we are creating in the future with them. So we connect to this moment with the grandchildren and children and we bring the memory to life today. “If PaPa was here he would have loved this.”
In Hawaii, the energy of the person is never gone, just transitioned. You will hear people say, “My auntie dropped by last night.” By the way, she has been dead for 15 years. And believe me, Hawaiians can grieve like no bodies business. In ancient Hawaii, they used to pull out their hair and use a rock to knock out their teeth. Emotionally, that may still be kind of true today.
But we also look at their own place in the flow of life. There is a personal responsibility to take care of the kids or go to work or look for a job or just take care of them. There is recognition of the individual’s part in the flow of life.
In the peace of knowing that we continue, we make a conscious choice. We choose to continue. We gather our light and shine it in to the world. We shine the light in our work, in our home, in our community. We choose to life the light of awareness and compassion.
For the gunman, I have compassion. I can never understand the confusion and pain that could ever take you to that action. I pray for you. For the families of those he took or injured, my compassion flows to you. The anger, pain and grief is unknowable. I send my prays and love to you.
And for myself and the many others who are confused or angry by these events, I raise my light. I send light and hope that this will create a shift of calm to the political dialog. I offer light instead of fear. Light instead of anger. Light instead of confusion.
We have the choice as self-aware beings to act and be responsible for the action. I can sleep at night with choosing love.
In Hawaii, we always eat together; potlucks, “family style”. Sharing food together is part of recognizing that the earth feeds us all. “Aina” can be the land or food. We nurture each other with the food we share. We talk about the things we are experiencing and gain understanding. The daily opportunity to see the interconnectedness of life is one of the most important aspects of the culture for me.
As you look across the table, are your eyes looking with aloha (love, compassion) or anger? Try the new perspective. Look with the light in your eyes. Ho’omaka can be the fresh perspective of changing the feeling you have when you look, not just sitting at a different seat around the table.