“There is something important for us to understand,” begins kahuna Hale Kealohalani Makua, as transcribed by anthropologist Hank Wesselman. “The word mana is not some impersonal supernatural force that is spread out across the universe… Mana is a personal creative force that is manifested within the individual and that can flow out into the world. And the more mana people possess, the more they can accomplish—and create. When we prefix the word mana with ho’o, it turns into a verb that means ‘to empower’—ho’omana.”
To empower individuals to embrace their unique gifts and fill the world with their mana is exactly our intention at Ho’omana Spa Maui. And with every passing lomi lomi retreat, I am reminded of how blessed we are to be a part of just that. My life has changed, and was impacted quite a bit since the immersion, so I thought to write you.
This is a letter from Koa Ramos, a student who joined us this year for Lomi Lomi Immersion. Stories like these are beautiful confirmations for us of the powerful work that we’re doing, to which I can only say, Mahalo Ke Akua! The immersion was deeper than I ever could have thought! Aside from the learning the modality of Lomi; you have awakened and activated a huge portion of my heritage and life that I was ignoring, and has been otherwise dormant. Also, I have become a happier person overall. I have noticed a major lift in my outlook since bringing into practice what I have experienced from the immersion. My few remaining amounts of family on Maui have been torn apart by everyone fighting for land. Going through this process gave me the courage to repair some of those relationships which I never thought possible. In between classes I also went to great lengths to trace my lost genealogy down in Lahaina back over 200 years now, and that has awakened a bigger sense of connection and happiness for me. So, on a personal note; thank you for providing a platform for me to find the courage to repair that link! This, combined with your training, Chucky, and Kumu Mike, Roy, even with Kumu tatau Samson & Kuaika, has connected me to the culture I always wanted to know, but thought had just been lost…I had been so disappointed with aspects of local culture growing up, and although I loved some of it, I turned away from it because of things that happened within my own family all in the face of negative sides from local culture. I always hoped to find a deeper more impactful side to the real Hawaiian culture. I never did, until this immersion. Going through all of this gave me such an overwhelming since of pride! To see, hear, and understand how extremely advanced and beautiful the culture is, has totally changed my life. You have also connected me with people that actually practice this, and I was floored to see this side of the culture being lived. For this alone, I am so grateful. I think there is a renaissance happening, and I feel the need to be within that.
We too feel a great awakening of Hawaiian culture, after decades of oppression.
In 1896, the Hawaiian language was banned in schools, and teachers were threatened with unemployment for using Hawaiian to teach. In my own family, my eldest son is the first fluent speaker since my tutu— three generations denied their native tongue. But today, because of the efforts of our recent ancestors to spread Hawaiian teachings to non-natives, opening up their wisdom to the world with care and determination, Hawaiian culture persists. The heartfelt and strong protectors of Mauna Kea
, the island-to-island Aloha ‘Aina Unity March
, the torchbearers
and the ‘aina warriors of the Keawanui Fishpond
—each remind our global community of the ancestral wisdom that fuel our fires, and the responsibilities we have to care for our ‘aina and our resources for future generations.
Brother Koa was filled with this fire and empowered to act in his community. Since coming back, I felt an uncompromising pull to immediately make room for the gifts I had been given during the immersion. I have organized a monthly beach clean up with my daughter, and have a pull with my martial arts followers that make it a large contribution. We chant every time before we start! I have also started contributing donations from my martial practice to Hawaiian cultural efforts like Mauna Kea, etc. I am starting Hula next month, and have undertaken (attempting) to learn the language, while also imbedding it into daily life with my daughter. I also felt an instant transmission on day 2 of fundamentals, in which I had an immediate clear vision of Lua, as a part of healing arising from Lomi and healers. I think the normal outlook on most Lua is slightly off from what I saw and felt. It was like an instant download. So, I am following that vision as a hobby in my off time to share what I have, and putting together some pieces that come to me. We have decided to start putting plans in place to purchase land on Maui in the act of stewardship, not necessarily to live on; but simply to hold as conservation. Most importantly, I have resumed sharing cultural things with my daughter and calling her by her Inoa again. This was something I have forgotten… This activation, means the world to me. I immediately got a table, oil, and supplies! I make it a practice to do at least 1-2 massages per week on family/friends (hopefully more!). If nothing else, Barbara and I give/receive! I still teach full time martial arts, but have since cancelled all of my personal fights. I intend to use all that time dedicated to learning and helping promote Hawaiian cultural efforts (or giving massage!) It is so important what you are doing. I hope more people with Hawaiian heritage, especially Kanaka (I am hapa!) start finding this. Thank you again, you are without a doubt, my kumu. Only the beginning!
Mahalo nui to you, Koa, for sharing your story of activation and action. May you continue to spread your mana across the universe, into the world, and inspire others with your light.