“I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do.”
― Jana Stanfield
The challenging times that have arisen bring the ever-more-present need for us to do what we can to make our corner a little better. Please help us honor two recent Good Deed-ers: Anastasia Flanagan and Irene Irons for their efforts on behalf of the community.
Anastasia Flanagan particularly likes to Belly Dance with us at Still & Moving Center. More recently, since her baby daughter’s birth, she has enjoyed kuma Mālia’s Oli (Hawaiian chanting) classes. Anastasia recently shared with us some of the ways she brings a touch of joy as she moves through life, undoubtedly uplifting those around her.
On her daily walks at beaches of Waimanalo, Anastasia has started a regular practice of cleaning up the trash that she finds on the shores. She understands that by caring for the spaces she inhabits, the spaces can in turn continue to care for all of us. Wonderful!
Anastasia has also been sharing aloha with her friends and her elderly landlord. When Hawaii went into quarantine and going out became a risk for her 80 year old landlord, Anastasia began delivering her grocery items, as well as making special trips for her to Costco.
Living with access to abundant, delicious tropical fruits in the backyard, she has also been distributing limes, bananas, soursops, oranges, coconuts, and moringa to her neighbors and friends. Joy for everyone!
Irene Irons saw that she could assist with her community’s imminent need for childcare. She answered the call of duty, and in one week offered 8 hours of free childcare to two different families. What giant relief to the families, and a fun change of pace for the children! She also made trips to the grocery store for two of her elderly neighbors. These good deeds supplemented Irene’s payment for her Trauma Yoga teacher training at Still & Moving Center.
While sharing physical space continues to be problematic within our community, we each have the ability to bring more ease and joy by extending help and kindness to others – with spatial distance when needed. You can even be on the Still & Moving Center Good Deed Squad without ever leaving home!
If you wonder what kind of good deeds you could do, see our suggestions. If you are already out doing good deeds, let us know! For those pinched by today’s economic hardships, your good deeds could even land you some free classes at Still & Moving Center. Click HERE for more details.
As a kid, I always loved big ideas. Maybe all kids do. Did you? I recall coming across our rambunctious 5-year-old son sitting still, alone in the middle of a play day, on top of his bunk bed. “Whatja thinkin’ about, Shankar?” I asked. “Infinity,’ he startlingly replied. For me, Still & Moving Center is becoming a place, more and more, where large-hearted, deep thinking takes place, as well as fabulous physical activities..
Imagine ideas giving the mind a workout, just as play, calisthenics, dance, etc. exercise the body. Little Renée also adored her time on the playground. Pumping back and forth on a swing, to the very top of each arc, is akin to viewing the world from a broad sweep of perspectives, from the top extreme to the opposite extreme. Hopscotch requires a light-footed agility, similar to mental agility in the face of new facts. Swinging from ring to ring on the monkey bars involves a shoulder motion called brachiation, suggesting the looseness with which we can release fixed points of view and move onward. Jumping rope strengthens our base – feet, ankles, knees, legs and hips – requiring steadiness, timing, and repeated grounding. The see-saw challenges our sense of balance. The metal push merry-go-round teaches us that going to the center gives us the still point, while going to the edge whirls us wildly through space. Down the slide requires letting go, enjoying the ride!
So, to me, exercising the mind goes hand in hand with exercising the body for whole health as a human being. I’ve been on a quest to find both.
As a bird longs to be on the wing in the open sky, I crave to live in the wide world of thought. From my earliest times, I’d quietly hang on the outskirts of adult conversations, listening for ideas that would carry my mind to broader perspectives. And I read a lot. I mean, I ate up books. One of my favorites was a big book on World Religions. That fascinated me with many ways of explaining how the world began and why we were here.
Of course every child loves stories. A story drew me in like a spider wrapping up a fly. Why is that? I think stories help us make sense of the world. We can see how the causes people set into motion play out into logical – even if surprising – results. Look how Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol comes to see how his life so far has damaged others, and finally chooses to utterly redeem himself from his tight, mean, miserly life to one of full-hearted generosity. Such stories teach that transformation is possible!
Watching sad news on black and white television made me deeply wonder how such terrible things could happen, and how we could make the world a more livable place for everyone. Surely you had events in your childhood that led you to similar questions. Remember?
My parents were part of the World Federalist movement, and I especially liked listening to their discussions with those friends. I’m just learning now that famous advocates of World Federalism include Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Camus and Winston Churchill. Wow! No wonder I was interested in THOSE conversations! World Federalism started during and after World War II, as a way a way to avoid future wars.
I devoured fantasy and science fiction books that envisioned worlds that COULD BE. “A Wrinkle in Time” captivated my imagination: three youngsters “on a journey through space and time, from universe to universe, as they endeavor to save [their] father and the world…. The novel wrestles with questions of spirituality and purpose, as the characters are often thrown into conflicts of love, divinity, and goodness,” per Wikipedia. Yep, that’s my kind of book!
One day, probably when I was home buried in a book and all the other kids on the block were outside playing – my mom suggested that I might want to make some more friends. I responded, “My books are my friends, and when I want more people friends, I’ll go out and make some.”
By 7th grade I left my bookworm habits behind, but you know, I didn’t really know who I was looking for. I could not have put into words, “I’m looking for friends with big ideas for the world.” By the time I got to college, I was finally able to find people like that, including my now husband Cliff.
At UC Santa Barbara. I heard about a Professor Raghavan Iyer, as an amazing speaker who always wore a red or orange or gold colored shirt to class. I recall sitting in the big lecture hall next to Cliff, waiting for the professor, when suddenly a small-statured Indian man, wearing – yes – a deep orange shirt under his dark jacket, came striding down the aisle. As he began speaking, I was transfixed.
The ideas that streamed non-stop out of Professor Iyer’s mouth for the next hour filled every nook and cranny of my mind… and then kept pushing it out farther and farther. The topic was something about politics, religions and literature… I can no longer recall the subject matter – only that these were stupendous ideas about the human race, its problems and its possibilities. My note-taking hand cramped trying to keep up with his full flood of remarkable notions from East and West, ancient times and modern headlines. But my hand cramp was nothing compared to the panting satisfaction that my mind and heart felt bathing in his colossal vision of a possible world that we – those of us sitting there in that very hall – could bring into being.
When Professor Iyer’s soaring lecture finally touched down and came to a close, a breathless pause ensued, then every person in the hall sprang to their feet and burst into a long, standing ovation. And for the next three years that I took Professor Iyer’s classes, I experienced all of our eyes brighten, our hearts swell, and our minds sail on the winds of his ideas for a more intelligent, compassionate world.
Soon Cliff found out that Professor Iyer, with a number of his students, were restoring an old Victorian house in downtown Santa Barbara to create something called the Institute of World Culture. Danson from Kenya, Ingrid from Germany, Carl from Quaker country in Pennsylvania, and all manner of other idealistic people worked through the weeknights and over their weekends to restore the house to the stately beauty the Institute deserved.
On July 4, 1976, the Institute of World Culture opened with the Declaration of INTERdependence! I include that Declaration below in Word to the Wise. From then on, Cliff and I feasted on endless programs devoted to lifelong learning, from Mozart’s music, to Ramunagen’s mathematics, to Vandanava Shiva’s seed banking, to Shakespeare’s play the Tempest, to how saving the wolves transformed Yellowstone National Park. And most of the programs were put on by the members themselves, learning about and presenting the subject matter. We also received remarkable visiting presenters, such as His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama.
Moving to the islands in 2002, I missed the Institute’s programs and conversations – my life of the mind. However, Cliff and I found so much richness in the Hawaiian culture, it hugely helped the transition. Cliff dove into paddling Hawaiian canoes, encountering the legendary Hawaiian kupuna (elder) Nappy Napoleon. And thank my lucky stars, I met kumu Mālia Helelā, who so graciously shares her tradition through hula, ōlelo (language), history, love of the ‘aina (land), and the generous heart of aloha.
Fortunately, too, I became better acquainted with a vast range of movement practices from around the world through Still & Moving Center. In addition to hula from the islands, we had Bharata Natyam dancing, Bollywood and yoga all from India. Tai Chi came from China and Qigong came from Korea. Israel gave us Feldenkrais, and we got belly dance from both Egypt and Turkey… and the list just keeps growing – like the new ELDOA from France. We are essentially creating a world university of mindful movement. And we have always kept conversation going through our weekly Satsang centered on our Still & Moving Center Almanac of inspirational quotes from around the globe.
I still keenly missed our wide-ranging programs and conversations at the Institute of World Culture.
With the pandemic came a pause, a pivotal turning point, and something shifted. Suddenly, at the time of our 9th birthday, Still & Moving Center went online, and went global. Overnight, our friends from across the map could join our classes without flying to Hawaii. I realized, “This is our chance at Still & Moving Center to cultivate the life of the mind!”
Our banquet table for the mind grew more plentiful. All our meditative offerings are free of charge and online. We now provide two seated meditation sessions a week. Our Sunday Satsang gathering is now frequented by off-island participants for a fuller diversity of viewpoints. On Fathers Day, for example, we talked about how the living practice of fatherhood has evolved over the generations in Japan, the Philippines and the U.S.
Our ‘Gems from the Wisdom Tradition – a Conversation Circle’, an online weekly gathering, launched in April with 14 participants from various islands, states and countries, all talking about fascinating, make-a-difference ideas. Some of our friends from the Institute of World Culture attended, too! Yay! Last week at Gems, kumu Maliā approached the Buddhist topic of Right Speech by addressing the Hawaiian proverb:“I ka ʻŌlelo no ke Ola” – In the Language there is Life, complete with chanting in Hawaiian. And I loved hearing the ancient Greek story of Prometheus stealing fire from the gods on Mount Olympus for humanity – hearing that fire in fact represents the light of the mind, which, like a candle, can be shared over and over, illuminating the darkness, without ever being diminished itself. Wonderful stuff. My body and mind are now both satisfied now!
Ironically, I spent a quarter century after college pursuing the life of the mind without much physical exercise at all, until I started practicing Nia and moved to Hawaii in 2002. Through Nia and the moving practices at Still & Moving Center, I had learned an important lesson. So I had slated myself in 2020 to go to San Diego, Brazil and the Ukraine to give talks on the Joy of movement, I wanted to convince some rather sedentary, philosophical groups to get up and move their bodies if they really wanted to have healthy minds.
And instead I’m finding myself bringing more of the life of the mind to a place where people love to move. Don’t you just love it?!?
And there’s more to come! AHHHHHH…………
This latest project of Ted Sturdivant’s constitutes true legacy work: Kaneohe Magazine. It’s as if the soul of Kaneohe has found its voice in print. It started with Hawaiian aunties, it opened with a water buffalo.
A contributing citizen of Hawaii since 1968, Ted has devoted himself to publishing, education and serving our island visitors. Aware of his good work, Windward Mall approached Ted in 2018 wanting a magazine for their customers.
Ted asked for a meeting in a small room at Windward Community College to broach the idea to the wider community. To his surprise, 17 people showed up, all in favor of the idea. And the ones with the clearest concept of what they wanted were the Hawaiian aunties. They began describing what they wanted to see, and they wanted real content. They envisioned Ted passing on the stories of Kaneohe, its ‘āina (land) and its kama’āina (local people).
He realized then that “we have a larger need here.” Unlike some of his other publications, this magazine was to be more for the abiding residents than the passers-through. Unless there was a long-ago Hawaiian language newspaper that Ted hasn’t heard about yet – and please contact him if you know of one – Kaneohe has never had a printed medium of its own. Bonnie Beason at Windward agreed with him that an editorial direction would work for this new publication.
As Ted began his research, he began to uncover more and more of the historical depth of Kaneohe, going back to the 1700’s and even 1600’s with the ali’i (nobility) of the area, followed by the arrival of the missionaries, and the waves of arriving immigrants.
Deciding to distribute the magazine via mail to the 96744 zip code, Ted found an extensive area on Windward Oahu to cover: from past Kualoa Ranch to the north, down along the bay past Kahalu’u and He’eia State Park, past Sunshine Gallery and the old Hygienic Market, sweeping through all of Kaneohe town and the Valley of the Temples above it, ending at Aikahi on the Kailua end.
Given the rich historical context in vast and varied landscapes, Ted felt satisfied that he could build an editorial-based publication that would produce new story content for every edition. Primarily an ideas man himself, Ted selected writers who understood the original concept, could give that true feeling of place that Kaneohe desires, and bring a professional, knowledgeable influence to the magazine.
To assess broader support for his (and the aunties’) concept, Ted printed a sample edition. The merchants and other people in the community enthusiastically embraced what they saw, and the game was on. Kaneohe Magazine, here we come!
Although many people envisioned the magazine with a glossy sweeping photo of the Ko’olau range stretching above the town of Kaneohe, Ted came up with a very different concept of his own. He had uncovered a treasure chest of images at the Kaneohe Library: 5 binders of old photographs of the town from long ago. There he found his iconic image that set the tone for all his front covers to come: a black and white photo from the 1950’s of a water buffalo – standing alone in a rice paddy in front of the Ko’olau with hardly a discernible human structure in sight. It was classic, tasteful, hinting at the compelling contents within.
The first edition came out in April of 2019, with 4 subsequent editions coming out every 2-3 months. Ted searches out the story concepts, then passes each one on to his able staff of writers. As a Kaneohe resident myself, I delightedly found the new magazine in my mailbox, water buffalo and all, with fascinating stories within, and the feeling I’d been allowed to peak inside someone’s attic of favorite keepsakes.
By the second edition, a lady from Pennsylvania called Ted from the North Shore, saying her friend’s grandfather Ah Fook Choy had owned that water buffalo! And the Choy family provided more photos to prove it. The buffalo story further unfolded to relate how Cecile B. DeMille had needed water buffalos for his 4+ hour epic film “The Ten Commandments” starring Charlton Heston. The Choy’s buffalo answered the casting call, was shipped to Hollywood for filming, and subsequently found a new home at the San Diego Zoo! Ted’s first story just kept giving!
Many of us love the feeling of entering Kaneohe from busy Honolulu, emerging from the Pali tunnel to see Kaneohe Bay stretched out before us in its arcing beauty. The second edition focused on Pali Trails and Tales. Incredibly timely, as the Pali Tunnel was largely shutdown for landslide repairs, we got to see and read about its original construction, with local embroidery of stories of Night Marchers – spirits of Hawaiian warriors near their ancient battle sites – and even a 2018 re-enacted Honolulu Police Department video of a police officer stopping to speak to a hunched over figure walking along the highway, then suddenly realizing the old woman was seated in the back of the patrol car. Spooky.
I imagine that I was not the only one of his readers to be surprised by the magazine’s story of the December 7th, 1941 Japanese bombing hitting the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base before it hit Pearl Harbor, killing 17 sailors and 5-7 civilians. However, for long-time local families, the incident is seared into their hearts. The most recent edition of the magazine includes a follow-up story by 90-year-old Kaneohe (He’eia) resident Louis Andrew Keaulouhiole McCabe. In it MaCabe relates the chilling story of losing both his father and uncle that day to the tragedy of “friendly fire” when he was but twelve. Such an authentic voice.
Further in the same May-August 2020 edition we hear of the “Sweet Sound of Success” with Kanila’s ‘Ukulele, a family business and musical influence in Kaneohe, which enhances the whole community like the proverbial “rising tide” that “lifts all boats” with its own success.
Something old, something new, something borrowed… Ted has come up with a good luck division of the magazine’s content in this way: 30% historical, 30% current, 30% business. I guess the last 10% of the secret formula’s magic comes out of the blue!
Being quite the do-it-yourself kind of guy, Ted personally does special deliveries of the magazine. He prints 25,000 of each edition, mailing them at no charge to every residential address, PO Box and business in the 96744 zip code. If you have a dad like mine who says that a thing is only worth what it costs you – in other words $0 – don’t believe him when it comes to Kaneohe Magazine. It’s worth every dime you never have to spend for it!
NOTE: If you live out of the 96744 zip code and want to receive Kaneohe Magazine, you can subscribe for $6/copy, $15 / 3 copies.
Ted Sturdvant 808.256.4108
In development: www.kaneohemagazine.com
By Dr. Wong Kai Ming
It’s important to have an inquisitive mind and always ask questions for an active, healthy brain!
Our reality is only our perception bound by the limits held in our thoughts. As Tsung-Mi explains, “One does not realize that the objective world appears out of the delusion of one’s own mind.”
Meditation focused on higher resonance can allow one to elevate one’s spirit to higher dimensions. Easier said than done. “How to do…” is really the point.
To go beyond, we can ask “What is Mind?” and “What is possible?” Cultivating an inquisitive mind – always seeking beyond all the limitations of our present state – spurs us to find that higher resonance.
I’m writing this letter to say that my 64 years on this earth have shown me that things DO change, that things CAN get better. In fact, throwing up our hands in helpless resignation denies the history of progress.
Shift happens… paradigm shifts, that is! And they don’t happen randomly. Human consciousness causes and shapes them. And we seem to be experiencing one right now.
I feel as if we are collectively giving birth and also squeezing through the birth canal right now. The mother is feeling ripped in half, and may not even survive the birth. The baby is undergoing bone-shifting pressure to come into the world… and may not make it. So much pain for new life to emerge. And we as a human race go through it over and over again for every precious infant who is born. I’m speaking about the Black Lives Matter movement.
For every great success in social justice, we must undergo a paradigm shift in our collective consciousness. What does it take to unearth an outdated paradigm? I believe it requires ripping our old, no-longer comfortable world-view out of our minds, and replacing it with a new, more resilient, spacious one. Anyone of conscience who has watched or heard of George Floyd’s death and many other abominations that white Americans are inflicting upon their black brothers and sisters, feels outrage and sorrow – to the pit of our stomachs and depths of our hearts.
The demand for shift screams from our heaving hearts, from the revolt in our guts. For big, long-ingrained practices to stop and to transform into a new way of being always require sacrifice, just as a mother must endure to bear a child.
I was dismayed to talk with a couple millennials last week who seemed to shrug off the possibility that violence to black Americans at the hands of police and jailers could be near an end. Some injustices are so egregious, that we’re tempted to despair of humanity ever moving on. Remember though, that for the mother and emerging infant, the intensity of the labor feels as if it will never end. But the new child does come.
Everything new in human life (as simple as a new recipe) is built upon an invisible pattern created in the human mind. Everything big (as grand as a new scheme for governing ourselves) is first fostered in our collective consciousness until it finally bursts forth into the physical world. That new thing begins nebulously as a dream, enters the human mind as a thought, is passed between minds as a vibratory image or song, is sketched out as a pattern through human language and design, and is finally brought into existence through the courage of human action.
Kindly allow me as a simple citizen of the world to share a few paradigm shifts that I know of. Each shift in the collective consciousness arose from people taking bold stances and/or suffering as sacrificial victims in the face of gross inequities. Their suffering awoke the sleeping consciences of their fellow human beings to such a fervor that social/political change for justice became irrepressible.
My story begins with Mahatma Gandhi freeing his teeming homeland, India, from more than three centuries of British domination…crafting the art of nonviolent resistance.
India 1608 to 1947
When the British arrived in India in 1608, they instantly recognized its earthly riches, while deeming its culture and people to be utterly inferior to their own. They ruled the people of India for centuries until the ugly brutality of the British
rule became repugnant to the English themselves. The Amritsar Massacre took place in 1919, when a British general ordered his troops to fire their rifles into a trapped crowd of unarmed Indian civilians, killing up to 1,000 villagers that day, and injuring thousands more. Indians were shocked by their rulers’ inhumanity, the Brits dismissive. The shift had begun.
Mahatma Gandhi stepped in to ask Indians to see themselves not as a subservient, backward people, but as a powerful force capable of self-governance. Gandhi convinced his people to non-violently resist the British laws that were unjust. He taught them to bravely turn the other cheek and take the consequences – which they and he did for decades.
The British jailed Gandhi on numerous occasions, but could not keep his resistance movement from sweeping the country. In the historically accurate movie “Gandhi” we watch with horror as one non-violent resistor after another walks towards the British and British Indian soldiers, only to be beaten down to the ground… for what? For daring to collect salt from their own beaches, which the Brits claimed they alone had the right to access but which all human beings need to consume for their survival. We watch the soldiers struggle mightily with their own consciences.
The Indians’ self-sacrificing courage in the face of violence and injustice eventually won the Britishers’ respect and commitment to moral behavior, and it swelled the Indians’ own confidence in ruling themselves. Gandhi’s people had affected a paradigm shift. In 1949 the British Empire voluntarily gave up her Crown Jewel, granting independence to India, which became the world’s most populous democracy. Victory!
The Vietnam War
Before turning to America’s racial story kindly allow me to share paradigm shifts that I experienced in the early part of my life.
Like now, a lot was going on in the mid 1960s. America sent troops into Vietnam in 1965. I recall going to Peace rallies with my parents, holding signs up against the Vietnam War and singing Kumbaya with Joan Baez at Peace concerts.
Soldiers who had no idea what they were really fighting for began coming home from Vietnam, either in boxes or with missing body parts or emotional trauma. The turning point of America’s collective consciousness seemed to come when I was in high school. Americans finally began to realize the human toll we were inflicting upon innocents in Vietnam. Seared into my brain – and no doubt into the collective
American consciousness – is the 1972 photo of a young Vietnamese girl fleeing a Napalm bombing, naked and screaming. At that moment, the winds of public thought shifted, drowning out the beat of our war drums.
The next year, 1973, America withdrew its troops from Vietnam in shame. It was the first time we had ever left a war without winning it, but I feel that it was ultimately a win for our consciences.
The Cold War
The Cold War simmered for my entire youth. I can still feel the tension my parents experienced and I didn’t understand at age 6 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a 13-day (October 16–28, 1962) confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union, which is evidently the closest we ever came to dropping bombs on each other. Even after we signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) in 1963, prohibiting all testing of nuclear weapons except underground, the scare remained. A little girl I went to camp with about 5 years later cried herself to sleep every night, afraid that a bomb was going to fall on us in California.
The Soviet Union seemed like a scary thug overhanging all of Eastern Europe, and it seemed absolutely impregnable
to me from my earliest memories. I was a little too preoccupied having our three kids in the 1980s to fully take in the immense paradigm shift taking place under Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, who introduced the most striking political, economic and social reforms since the Russian Revolution. His new concepts of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (reconstruction) shook new ways of thinking through the communist block.
Imagine my utter astonishment when the Berlin Wall, which had so stubbornly separated democratic West Germany from communist East Germany under the Soviet Union for my entire lifetime, was suddenly dismantled in 1989. I felt as if I were in a dream, the event was so inconceivable.
Meanwhile, a dissident Czech playwright named Václav Havel led the Silk Revolution, a completely nonviolent separation of Czechoslovakia from the dreaded Soviet Union, also in November 1989. The communist world was ripe for radical change. By 1991, the Soviet Union itself dissolved, freeing all of its republics.
Black America 1619 to 1865 to 1964 to 2020
In 1619 black slaves, the majority of whom had been captured by West Africans and sold to European slavers, arrived in the American colonies. The American South built its agricultural economy on the backs of these doubly-sold slaves and their decedents.
Perhaps we all remember shuddering as children when we saw drawings of slaves stacked like cordwood within ship hulls, or separated on the auction block from their spouses and children, or lashed to near-death by their heartless masters. Such images haunt our collective conscience, especially in a country where we resonate to the principles of human and individual freedom.
When we could live with ourselves no longer, President Lincoln officially freed the slaves in 1862 with the Emancipation Proclamation. Dialogue between Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, a self-educated escaped slave, evolved Lincoln’s thinking on slavery. Huge suffering, including the Civil War in which black soldiers fought valiantly, brought about enough of a consciousness shift that Congress ratified the 13th Amendment in 1865, purporting to legally end slavery in America.
Immediately, the South enacted Jim Crow laws in 1865 to at least separate whites from the blacks they could no longer enslave. During my parents’ youth in the 1930s-50s, blacks in the South were legally barred from eating in the same restaurants, using the same toilets and attending the same public schools as their white counterparts. But public sentiment was beginning to change, especially after black American servicemen distinguished themselves in WWII.
The US Supreme Court outlawed segregation in the public schools in 1954. Victory! Actually desegregating schools has happened slowly.
On December 1, 1955 (one week before I was born), Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on the bus. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. peacefully led his first protest, the Montgomery Bus Boycott. MLK went on to lead the American Civil Rights movement, modeling it – to the extent he could – on Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent strategies.
Protesting blacks endured tremendous hardships, with Dr. King and his family receiving numerous death threats. In my memory, the real turning point of the movement came when Bull Connor, the Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety endangered the lives of black youths in 1963 by turning police attack dogs and fire hoses on them during a peaceful protest. As the viciousness of those attacks came over our television screens, white Americans were sickened and ashamed. The collective consciousness in America shifted, pushing Congress to enact the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Victory! For the moment.
In order to gain the majorities needed to pass these acts, politicians sadly had to remove clauses that would have explicitly outlawed violence against African Americans. They bowed to Southerners’ demand for “interposition”, allowing local and state governments to control their own law enforcement standards. We sadly left that battle to be fought at another time, in fact in another century… in fact, NOW!
In the ultimate sacrifice, Martin Luther King prophesied not “getting to the mountain top” with his people, and he was assassinated the next day. The sacrifices – willing or unwilling – continue.
There is no way to comfort a weeping parent of a black man or woman who has been killed by stone-hearted police officers, and no way to say we’ve achieved anything like racial fairness in this country. Yet the sacrifices made along the way have made a difference.
Among many other gains, we’ve elected a black president for not one but two terms – the recoil of which we are currently experiencing in the backlash of white supremacists today. I take joy knowing that two black women, Michelle
Obama and Oprah Winfrey, are among the most widely known and respected human beings on the planet. While blacks continue to fill the majority of our prison cells, women, blacks and other minorities have made strides in education and income.
What strides we’ve made since only land-owning white men filled America’s early Congress, Supreme Court and Presidency. How our paradigm has shifted in terms of who should hold office in America! Here’s a snapshot of minority representation in the US Congress In 1965, when the Voting Rights Act was signed, compared to minority representation in TODAY’s June 2020 US Congress.
And we still have more work to do.
None of these changes in social justice spontaneously occurred on their own – they grew out of paradigm shifts in human consciousness – shifts demanded by the human heart and foreseen by the human mind. The people’s demands of conscience and their clear vision of a new tomorrow ushered it into reality, time and time again. Had they simply resigned themselves to the status quo, nothing new would ever have arisen in the face of seemingly insurmountable resistance.
My greatest concern lies with those who are suffering from the oppression of the Chinese Communist Party, whether the minority people of China who live with spies called “aunties” and “uncles” planted in their own homes to make sure they aren’t privately practicing their religions, the Tibetans whose genocide and ethnocide continues, and the people of Hong Kong, around whom the Chinese fist is tightening its iron grip. I can only hope that hidden flames of change within the collective psyche of the people will spring up someday and surprise me within my lifetime.
We cannot allow our lethargy or our lack of creative vision to perpetuate the old way. No! As human beings, we need to continue to keep our hearts wide open to each other’s suffering, and our sight trained on the next step to a better future. This is not only necessary, it is possible.
These and many other events in my experience have given me great hope for the present situation being a watershed moment in the United States… at least a significant step towards diminishing racial injustice and increasing racial harmony. I have faith that America’s conscience will ultimately win the day.
About the Author
Renée Tillotson, Director, founded Still & Moving Center to share mindful movement arts from around the globe. Her inspiration comes from the Joy and moving meditation she experiences in the practice of Nia, and from the lifelong learning she’s gained at the Institute of World Culture in Santa Barbara, California. Engaged in a life-long spiritual quest, Renée assembles the Still & Moving Center Almanac each year, filled with inspirational quotes by everyone from the Dalai Lama to Dolly Parton. Still & Moving Center aspires to serve the community, support the Earth and its creatures, and always be filled with laughter and friendship!
From Eva Geueke
When the heart is restless or you’re feeling anxious, gently hold your little finger with your other hand for about 10 minutes. It works to calm the heart.
This hand posture comes from the Jin Shin Jyutsu tradition, a healing art form from Japan said to have been rediscovered in the 20th century. The acupressure points on your pinky correspond with the heart and small intestines. Healing energy is especially strong in your fingertips and the middle of your hand.
Our human emotions run through the heart: whether anger, hatred and fear, or joy, love and compassion. Our hands act as extensions of our hearts, capable of being cruel and destructive, or giving and caring. Our loving hands reach out from our loving hearts, capable of healing and bringing the energy system back into harmony.
Politicians sometimes instinctively (or knowingly) put their fingers together, or hold one wrist with the opposite hand while they are in a crowd shaking hands, to prevent an energy drain.
In moments of stress, the simple resource of holding our little finger is very easy to do. You might also pay attention to how your hands naturally grasp and gesture throughout your day. These positions are often instinctive to our body’s energy system, and you may discover that you are already innately using hand postures to release stress and bring a sense of renewed calm.
Without consciously knowing particular points on the body needed to release an energy lock, a mother intuitively touches her baby where it needs help, and her love for the child comes straight through her hands with healing benefits.
To support our instinct to position our hands and bodies in ways that clear blocked energy, Eva teaches Morning Qigong every Tuesday at 8:30 am, HST.
One of our Still & Moving teachers had a grandmother here on the island whose school teacher sent her home from school one day with a sign hanging around her neck saying: “Don’t talk Hawaiian to me.” In 1896 the government banned teaching and learning in Hawaiian language. Over 70 years later, the resurgence of the Hawaiian cultural pride emerged. A local radio show sparked revival of the native ‘oleo (language). Hawaiian language activist Larry Kimura along with many Hawaiians led the charge in the 1970s, getting Hawaii’s Department of Education to sanction Hawaiian-language immersion schools.
In the back roads of Kaneohe, in the ʻili of Waipao, in the ahupuaa of Heʻeia, in Koʻolaupoko on Oʻahu, I heard the captivating tones of conversational Hawaiian – a rare sound in my experience. I walked across land embraced by the Ko’olau Mountains, towards a brightly shiny silver Airstream trailer with a hawaiian lei painted around it, as if engarlanding the vehicle. Over a dozen local musicians and Hawaiian cultural practitioners gathered, many with instruments in hand, to share the blessings of Hawaiian mele (music), community, and our keiki (children). With a camera at my side to photograph the event, I felt a sense of sacredness and gratitude as I absorbed the tuneful gathering.
Something different was happening here. Laughter and easy aloha filled the space.
I felt especially connected to the culture, language and land where I grew up. Gathered on the land of Papahana Kuaola were the people (students/mentors/participants) of Mana Maoli.
Mana Maoli came to life in 1999, a non-profit initiative that locals of Oahu created to plan and grow a community, culture, and environment-based public charter school. By the time I encountered the group, a project within Mana Maoli, Mana mele, had just completely refurbished an Airstream and transformed it into a state of the art – solar powered – mobile recording studio. Mana Mele carries the vision into music. Their one-of-a-kind, high-tech trailer serves as a hands on, mobile ‘classroom’ for children, as well as a recording studio for local musicians, and has by now blessed hundreds, possibly thousands of people in the community.
“Teaching and caring for our keiki is the most important thing we can do as adults,” says John Cruz, widely acclaimed musician and Board Chair of Mana Maoli.
The non-profit has grown into a multidisciplinary collective of educators, artists, musicians, cultural practitioners, community organizers, and families who share a common vision of community empowerment.
Mana Maoli took early steps by creating monthly events with cultural learning activities, games, and Hawaiian food, for the kids and their families at the Papakolea and Maunalaha Native Hawaiian Homesteads. These monthly gatherings eventually turned into weekly classes in Hawaiian language and culture. The Hawaiin language is still classified as an endangered language, meaning that every effort to teach the language helps to perpetuate a deeper connection to the ‘aina (land) and spirit of Hawaii. Perpetuating the language is of huge importance.
The nonprofit founded Hālau Kū Māna Public Charter School, Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy and the Mana Mele Project, which serves over 2000 Hawaii students each year, delivering cultural, academic, and life skills and inspiring students to learn and create.
Unlike the traditional western sit-in-your-chair-with-a-book approach to schooling, Mana Maoli students learn by participating in real-world settings, alongside mentors and top professionals. The collective currently consists of around 200 music, video, and education professionals who expose students to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) – all with a uniquely Hawaiian perspective.
Mālie, a young student, found her calling through Mana Maoli. She shared, “They opened a new window for me… I didn’t know what audio engineering was, but now I see myself being a sound engineer because of my mentor, Aunty Kelli. She’s taught me so much. I plan to go to college for engineering.”
Mana Maoli continues to take big strides, enriching the community. We can all get behind this cause – to work towards a Hawaii where children have access to hands-on learning that can inspire and connect them to their cultural heritage, to the ‘aina (environment) and where the community comes together with sound cultural values, such as aloha (love, fellow-feeling), kuleana (personal responsibility), malama (to care for, preserve, protect), allowing for a stronger Hawaii.
MANA : nvs. Life-force energy/power, powerful nation, authorization, miraculous, divinely powerful, spiritual.
MAOLI : vs. Native, indigenous, genuine, true, real; really, truly. Hawaiian native.
Born in Massachusetts in the 1950s, sixth in a Catholic family of seven children, Ruth Marie moved continuously until finally landing in Hawaii for graduate school, where she has happily lived ever since, adopting her Hawaiian name of Pulelehua given to her by Pir Moineddin, a Sufi on Maui.
One of her family’s many moves brought them to South Carolina, where her father’s job was to integrate an all-white electrical company. Even though Jim Crow laws had been removed, the family was surprised to see a few “Whites Only” signs. When they searched for a house to rent, and the landlords learned about her father’s job and that their family was Catholic, landlords refused to rent to them. The family moved from trailers to a convent, until they managed to rent a house in a larger town.
Naturally friendly, Ruth Marie soon invited a number of new acquaintances to their home for a party, including one black girl. No one showed up for the event except her black friend. After that day they were evicted from the house, but not before a group of white supremacists burned a cross into their lawn.
Unwavering, Pulelehua has continued to maintain friendships with folks of any color ever since. She also developed a heart for standing up for what she believes is right and just. As an undergraduate at UC San Diego, she was so disturbed by the killing her country was doing in Viet Nam, she led a protest against the US military coming to the college campus to conscript soldiers from amongst the students. She regularly demonstrates and advocates for women’s rights, equity and social justice for all.
Pulelehua first came to the islands together with her mother for both of them to attend graduate school at UH Manoa in 1979. Within her 30 years of her subsequent employment there, Pule headed up the enormous project of putting the entire library system of the University of Hawaii online. They began by designing their own software system to pull off the task. She continued to take courses and completed a Masterʻs in Educational Technology. She calls herself a “nerd” – the rest of us would probably call her a genius!
Now a devoted hula student of Kumu Malia at Still & Moving Center, Pulelehua has danced her entire life – even through the grocery stores as a little child! She began sharing Sacred Dance in 1991, with the Sacred Dance Guild, which she has done ever since with dancers from around the world, and which drew her to her church at Calvary By the Sea, where she also dances and leads sacred embodiment of prayer, including: labyrinth walks, liturgical dance, and a welcoming prayer.
She conducts moving meditation workshops with groups including Hospice, youth groups, women’s groups, church communities and educational groups. “We are dancing for healing, dancing for life, dancing to stay grounded. We dance to embody the spirit we are intended to be,” enthuses Pule.
Most recently, Pule took Brain Dance teacher training in 2016 and currently leads online classes, to which EVERYONE is invited!
Most recently, Pulelehua took a BrainDance teacher training from the creator Ann Green Gilbert in 2016 and currently leads online classes in Mindful BrainDance, to which EVERYONE is invited Wednesdays 10am HST on Zoom! mindful-braindance.com
Kathe Gibbs has ushered 2000 newborns into their mothers’ waiting arms in the comfort, safety and sanctity of their homes. Now as one of the residents on Mouna Farm, Kathe provides her midwifery skills all over the island of ‘Oahu. “I go to where the mother is with my ‘concierge midwifery’ practice. I offer care throughout their childbearing year, sometimes working with families before conception. It’s always a pleasure and a privilege,” says Kathe, who is a Preceptor for The North American Registry of Midwives (NARM, which has been granted licensing oversight in the new Hawaii law).
Kathe experienced two great visions in her professional life, one of which fully manifested, the other of which is currently in process.
Back in 1974, after achieving her BS in Psychology and Early Childhood Education at UC Santa Cruz. She was doing graduate studies and teaching yoga when a paradigm shifting event revealed a different life path. She found herself unexpectedly serving as the sole attendant at a friend’s home birth. The baby’s father was out of reach, hiking in the back country when the mother-to-be went into labor. Unphased, and experienced in seeing home births herself, the first-time mother calmly guided Kathe through every step of the labor, from making a fire in the hearth, rubbing her back, boiling water, all the way to catching the baby!
Attending the birth of that baby was an “Aha” moment for Kathe. It left her charged with the joyous realization that – despite the impressions from culture, media and people’s stories – childbirth can be so natural, so much “the way things should be and always have been”. Kathe felt thunderstruck. She knew to the roots of her soul that she would spend her life caring for mothers and birthing families safely into the world.
As she had learned that 90% of all births are normal, she saw herself using ancient birthing practices in today’s world backed up by modern medicine if the situation calls for it. With that clear-as-crystal insight, Kathe began her years of women’s health care and midwifery, starting a Women’s Health Center in Tehran (1975-77). Formal midwifery and clinical training began in 1979 at the Seattle Midwifery school. Her education and instruction (listed below) included a B.S. in Nursing. She was in the first group of midwives to be licensed in both Washington state (1981) and California (1995).
In practice on her own, as well as in partnerships and in many clinical settings, Kathe has attended births in California, Washington, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C, Texas, New Mexico, Iran, the West Indies, as well as here on the islands of Hawaii, where many of her clients are military families.
As a NARM Preceptor, and officially certified by the Midwifery College of Utah and the National College of Midwifery, Kathe has served as an educator, overseeing the academic and clinical training of new midwives. By 2001, Kathe had a thriving midwifery practice in Santa Cruz, California, attending to births in the safety and comfort of the mothers’ homes.
In late 2010, Kathe experienced the second vision of her life to come, triggered by the question: “How would your life be different if you had a place to go?” She saw “A Place for Women”. It would be a women’s clinical training site, a birthing center where women of all backgrounds could come together as early as pre-conception, and receive continued education, advocacy and support through the three trimesters of their pregnancies, as well as postpartum. In the hands of skilled midwives, as well as other medical professionals, these mothers would give safe, strongly supported and joyous births.
She had brought her children to Hawaii every summer for decades. After seeing the Hawaiian film Ola, which featured both Mouna Farm and other innovative health programs, she felt irresistibly drawn to the islands. When she reviewed the Hawaii 2020 Health Goals, she recognized a HUGE need for women to have better access and affordability to comprehensive maternal and infant care. In 2015 she closed her California practice and moved to Hawaii to fulfill her second vision. After some time in Hawaii Kai, she happily landed on Mouna Farm, a place of inspiration and healthy living for all.
Dreams, like all births, begin as a seed, tucked into a small, fertile place to be nurtured into being. Kathe is carefully tending her model and idea of “A Place for Women”, a wellness center and birthing home. Kathe commits herself to giving back to the community, which appreciates her safe, supportive, and restorative service to women and their babies. She knows that the goal of improving society’s care for women, like pregnancy, requires patience. Her dream is alive and well, and promises to be very successful, uplifting women in so many ways.
Kathe’s Educational Background
1977 Informed Homebirth Childbirth Educator training, MA
1979 – 1981 Seattle Home Maternity Service, Preceptorship, WA
1979 – 1981 Seattle Midwifery School, WA
1980 High Point Community Women’s Clinic, Women’s Health Preceptorship WA
1981 St. Jude’s hospital, Preceptorship West Indies
1983 – 1985 Regents College, BSN program NY
2004 – 2006 Naturopathic Graduate Studies, Clayton College of Natural Health
Full Circle – Midwifery
650.269.0853 / http://www.fullcirclemidwifery-hawaii.com
By Sarah Hodges
Have you ever struggled to accept help, even when you really needed it? We all face this situation, and sometimes have to overcome our own pride to accept acts of generosity. It’s not greedy to accept help. The truth is, nothing happens by one person alone. We all rely on the assistance of many others to accomplish our own life’s work. Right now, more than ever, we get to experience the importance of each other’s help. Putting ego aside, we find that great things come from accepting what is offered. Here, blessings can abound!
Only in accepting can we give, and thus the natural flow of giving and receiving continues to thrive. In the natural cycle, the plants release oxygen and need carbon dioxide to live; on the other side, animals breathe out carbon dioxide and breathe in the oxygen that the plants produce. A miraculous life flow happens in this dance of giving and receiving. We exist in a beautifully interdependent universe, where nothing operates isolated from another.
We still need discernment in navigating offers of help. Pay attention to any internal warning signs that are telling you that a gift may be dangerous or come with ill intention. Anything that risks our physical, mental, or emotional well being is not actually “help” – it’s harm. When we are true to ourselves, we don’t betray ourselves. When we are centered, we more easily see when to accept and when to graciously decline an offer.
We can also move beyond any fears of not being deserving, or not being able to repay. We can consider accepting a hand reached out in assistance, just as naturally as we may offer help spontaneously with a loving heart. In walking our path in a pure-hearted way, honoring all that is sentient and insentient, we mindfully take our place in the great, interactive flow, which the trees and animal kingdom naturally move to in their own way.
If giving is a blessing, we might well be magnifying any blessing offered to us tenfold, just by our willingness to receive.