What do you get when you combine the richness of the past with the possibilities of the future?
What flourishes when you put together the force of Hawaiian ancestral wisdom and the outlook of a better world? For us, this blend is nothing short of magic. Overwhelming in its power and comforting in its roots, this blend of knowledge from the past and goals for the future is just the kind of mixture that our Lomi Ohana was immersed in this past weekend in Moloka’i. Our generous hosts Maile and Hanohano Naehu welcomed us at their cherished Keawanui Fishpond. Along with our team of lomi specialists, we were blessed to bring with us Kumu Mike Kumukauoha Lee, who shared his mana’o with the fishpond community. In the few days we spent at Keawanui, between lomi lomi sessions and big ohana meals, we witnessed a beautiful harmony take place—that between past and future, between wisdom and action. Kumu Mike Lee has dedicated his life to Hawaiian cultural practice, to sharing his knowledge about Hawaiian constellations and star systems, to spreading ancestral wisdom and the idea that we can use this knowledge to bring sustainable practices back into modern society. He believes that ancient Hawaiians discovered great things about the world and the stars, and that this wisdom can solve some of our biggest environmental issues today, if only we let it.
“Our future looks more like our past than our present.” These are the words of Hanohano, ‘aina warrior and passionate activist.
With little more than his internal compass, his connection to ancient Hawaiian culture, and faith, Hano and Maile have sustained one of the largest fishponds in the world, along with creating aquaculture education and research opportunities for the Moloka’i community and beyond. In the face of resistance and uncertainty, this family has manifested the kind of resurrection that Kumu Mike has dreamed of and spoken of for decades.
And there we were, our Lomi Ohana, in the midst of a harmonious uniting. Hanohano and Kumu Mike represent pillars of what it takes to move forward with intention and purpose. To create a sustainable and just future, we need both thought and action. We need wisdom and passion, guidance and drive, roots and branches.
As we gathered in a circle after sharing lomi with the Moloka’i community at the Makahiki games, filled with mana from all of the warmth and aloha exchanged throughout the day, we expressed to one another the power of unity and healing. What do you get when the past and future come together? In Moloka’i we saw sore backs transform to new bodies; ancient wisdom brought to light; searing passion creating opportunities—anger becoming motivation. We saw words become action and saw action find guidance, as one person’s dream found solace in another’s. In Moloka’i, people from all islands came together to participate in ancient ceremonies and play ancient games with aloha and pride. The Hawaiian language filled our ears, and love for the people and for the ‘aina filled our hearts.